Thursday, June 19, 2008

Amadeus Cafe in Old San Juan

106 Calle San Sebastian
San Juan, PR 00901

I ate today!

Amadeus is in a bright yellow building across the street from Plaza de San Jose. The restaurant is chic and modern, with a large bar, plenty of tables, an English/Spanish menu, and funky art lining the walls. It seems like a place where the cool kids probably hang out in the evening, although I went by myself for lunch, which means I was not a cool kid, at least not today.

First of all, they have a pretty decent bar. Interestingly, on the bar is a teeny alter with candles and a saint statue, presumably to protect the drunks during their debauchery. I had a mojito, and it was fabulous. I am sort of picky about my mojitos, specifically the ratio of sweet:lime:mint:rum, which is an art to master, if you ask me. Amadeus was spot on, although the $8 price tag meant I only got to enjoy one. I wasn't super hungry, since it was about a thousand degrees today, so I just got two appetizers, the yautía fritters and the Amadeus ceviche. Yautía, known in some other cultures as malanga, is a tuber that is sort of like a potato, but a little sweeter and starchier. Yautía is also an important ingredient in the Puerto Rican alcapurria, a mixture of ground plantains and yautía that is filled with either crab or meat and then deep fried. I had one of those today too...mmm... But anyway the fritters from Amadeus were served with a tomato chutney and were just okay, at best. The ceviche, pictured above, looked quite fancy but was just a pretty standard ceviche, and served a little warmer than it should have been. I mean, I ate it. I just won't rave about it.

Many of the online reviews of Amadeus say better things, and perhaps it is much more of a nighttime spot. I was the only diner in the establishment when I went, and since I only tried two things, I am giving the benefit of the doubt and saying that the food is probably much better a little later. It was about middle of the road price-wise. The fritters were $6, the ceviche $12, and the mojito $8, and $30 is a little more than I like to spend on lunch. The rest of the menu was sort of an American-Caribbean-Modern fusion, with options like upscale pizzas and burgers, dumplings with guava sauce, arrowroot fritters, pork scaloppine with sweet and sour sauce, buffalo wings, plantain mousse with shrimp, chicken breast with sun-dried tomatoes, Cajun grilled mahi mahi, goat cheese raviolis, and other eclectic options.

The service was great. The two girls at the bar (where I sat) were very nice, and asked me if I would prefer speaking English or Spanish (I said Spanish). I asked them all about yautía and they asked me a little about myself. The food came out quickly, although I was the only one there.

Umm...not sure yet. I think I could do better. Not bad though.

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