Review: DC’s Café Atlántico


A while ago, my partner and I ate at Café Atlántico. Actually, we ate there twice – once during restaurant week (with very bad cell phone photos that will not be displayed here other than the drinks) and once before a play at the Shakespeare Theater (pictures after the bump). During restaurant week we got 2 appetizers, 2 mains, and 2 desserts. During non-restaurant week, we got guacamole, 2 mains, and 1 dessert. The guac is mighty – I’d recommend skipping an appetizer unless you’re sharing among many. Without further ado, Café Atlántico‘s spectacular eats:

Restaurant week Winter 09:

Salt and Lime Air Margarita – It has a salt and lime “foam” on top. It was hard to drink because the foam sloshed around on top. It was tasty, but I wouldn’t get it again.
El Presidente – a blood orange drink with bitters and some other stuff. My partner wasn’t expecting it to look as girly as it did. I didn’t like it much, but he did.

Tuna Ceviche with a coconut milk dressing and covered in a “shell” of avocado with crunchy corn on top – beautiful and tasty, very filling as there is a 1/2 avocado on top of the ceviche
Dominican Conch Fritters with jicama-avocado raviolis, passion fruit oil

My Ceveche was the winner this round, but they were both pretty spectacular.

Braised Beef Short Ribs with butternut squash, spinach, mushrooms, sweetbreads, truffled potato espuma
Grilled Flank Steak with malanga purée, malanga chips

The grilled flank steak was off the charts. My short ribs were very good, but they were heavy. My partner said he would order the grilled flank steak again and again. I would have to agree. The flavors were pretty complex. Both were great, but his outweighed mine by a landslide.

Chocolate Cake with Banana warm chocolate cake with Venezuelan chocolate flan, banana foam and fresh banana-lime salad. Since we both got the restaurant week menu, we only had 2 choices for dessert. This was better than just sorbet. It was remarkably light. Being honest, I would have rather gotten 2 appetizers than the dessert. It was very good, but their savory food is that much better.

Non restaurant week sometime in spring 09:
Partly because I forgot my camera and partly because it was like a flavor party in our mouths, we decided to come back.

The regular mojito was mighty spectacular, but each of the drinks, running from $11-14, is also mighty pricey. We had 1 each and stuck to water the rest of the night. I didn’t order it, but they had something called a “Magic Mojito.” It had cotton candy hanging out on top with cotton candy flavors infused in it. It was fun looking, but the bartender said I wouldn’t like it if I didn’t like very sweet drinks (I do not).

Guacamole (made table side) – It’s the same as at Oyamel. It’s pricey but worth it. We opted not to get the cheese in it, as we were expecting a very large meal. I’ve had it before, but I’d get it at Oyamel instead – with the small plates, it’s easier to control your portions. As always, we chose extra spicy!

Duck confit with morels, ramps, turnips, peas and truffled potato espuma.

“Feijao Tropeiro” -deconstructed version of the Brazilian classic, grilled pork chop, black beans, white rice, farofa, oranges, sautéed collard greens with garlic.

At the time, my partner’s duck dish was a special. It has since made the menu. The sauce was luxurious. We both wholeheartedly agreed that the  Feijao Tropeiro was quite an amazing dish. The deconstruction helps you understand that the sum is greater than the individual parts. The beans were spectacular.

The dessert we got is no longer on the  menu. The trio of apples with cinnamon ice cream was a lot lighter and savory than either of us expected.

You can see better in the picture below.  Starting on the left, we had an apple bread pudding with apple “roe.” Sadly, I can’t remember what the white stuff is on top. In the middle, an apple slaw was gently cooked, but still crispy. Last, a cinnamon ice cream that brought all the apples together. Personally, I thought the apple roe was fun. It popped in your mouth a little like real roe.

In all, Café Atlántico is a spectacular date night restaurant. The ambiance is fun and lively, but you can still hear people. However, if you don’t get the restaurant week menu, it can get pretty expensive.

Our official review of his restaurants is:
Café Atlántico – Would definitely go again (pricey)
Zaytina – Would definitely go again (reasonable)
Oyamel – Would definitely go again (reasonable) – Review coming!
Jaleo – Will try again during restaurant week only – I was not impressed the first time I went.

Café Atlántico on Urbanspoon


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One Response to “Review: DC’s Café Atlántico”

  1. Review Master List « matzo&rice Says:

    […] Café Atlantico […]

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