Okay, so as promised, I went back to Perro Andaluz to test out another menú. Let’s just say...I can’t praise their ingenuity enough. This time, I committed to the menú. The description: vegetable pad thai, sushi with tofu, and apple gyozas.
First of all, I should mention that we’ve become recognized customers. When making the reservation call, our waitress immediately recognized us and penciled us in for the same time as the previous menú. We noted a few nuances that confirmed our celebrity status--a taller and stronger pour of vermut (in Spain, they drink vermouth neat), bread fresh out of the oven with olive oil (we usually have to ask for the oil), and generous meal portions. A strong start.
The first dish--veggie pad thai. In contrast to the normal rice noodles, the dish came with thin spaghetti-like noodles, called fideos. The fideos mingled with a medley of vegetables--bean sprouts, mushrooms, red onion, and fresh corn on the cob that made me miss my grandparents’ cooking in South Carolina. Along with the traditional toppings like crushed peanuts and lime wedges came a twist--peanut sauce. The creamy, nutty sauce somehow tied all of the flavors together. It was the most interesting Thai/Chinese/Southern pad thai I’ve ever had.
Then came the sushi. What I imagined: a classic vegetable and tofu sushi roll. What I got: an explosion of flavor--rice and guacamole held tight by a deep-fried tofu wrapper, topped with chipotle mayo and smoked paprika, and accompanied by a small dipping saucer for soy sauce. Absolutely incredible. I’ve never tasted anything like it in my life. The thin golden layer of tofu created the perfect pocket for the rice and guac, and the mixture of the classic sushi flavor with fresh guac and smoky chipotle mayo...heavenly. I could’ve eaten seven more.
Unable to imagine anything better, the dessert was still on its way. The plate arrived with two small dumplings, a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, oats, cinnamon, mint leaves, and a drizzle of honey. The silverware? Chopsticks and a small spoon. I used the chopsticks to pick up a dumpling and bite into its firm exterior. Then came an explosion of cinnamony apple pie flavor. I can now mark that down as the first time I’ve eaten ice cream with chopsticks. Never have I ever hated a spoon more—that innocent little utensil signified the ending of the bulk of the dessert, and the beginning of the frantic scramble to scrape up the remaining pool of minty, crumb-filled ice cream.
Throughout the entire meal, I kept searching for that orange slice of cheese or some other flaw, but I was stumped. They more than redeemed themselves in my book, and most of what I ate ended up being some of the best food I’ve ever had. So Perro Andaluz, see you again this Friday mi amor.