Restaurant: baru Latino Restaurante
Cuisine: South American/Latin/Contemporary
Last visited: October 18, 09
2535 Alma Street (Alma & West Broadway)
Price Range: $20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Specializes in South American cuisine
- Home made flatbread
- Traditional South American items with West coast/fusion flare
- Creative ideas, nice plating, but everything is a bit bland
- Casual fine dining/hip/trendy
- Mix of restaurant/lounge...then there's a tv playing sports?
- Open kitchen
- Dark lighting, can't see what you're eating
- Attracts 30-40
- Full wine bar
- Free underground parking in the back
- Everyday dinner at 5pm - 12:30am
The food is quite typical of Latin America, however the flavours are a bit altered/watered down to suit the taste buds of locals. It's not quite authentic even though some of the items offered are traditional. It's more Latin fusion and most of it sounded better on the menu than it tasted. Nothing was quite as flavourful as it should have been so the flavours were all one dimensional and lacking. Nothing tasted bad, but nothing was really great either. The portions were good though and so was the selection, but the end result fell short for what was expected.
- Ceviche Trio 3/6 -$30
- It came with 3 bowls of each ceviche, a plantain chip, and 4 homemade pattacones.
- The most annoying part was it was so dark I couldn't see what I was eating so it was hard to get some of everything and I had to guess all the flavours.
- Ecuadorian Red Ceviche 3.5/6
- Scallops, shrimp and octopus in smokey Ecuadorian marinade.
- There were a lot of textures which I liked - the scallops were tender, the shrimp meatier and the octopus jelly-like. It was marinated with red pepper and maybe some sun-dried tomatoes, but it was a bit bland. I don't feel like the ingredients absorbed the flavours of the marinade as well as it should have. It was a bit smokey in flavour and a little citrusy but still bland. It just needed more flavour and it would have been there.
- $13 separately
- Hondurian Coconut Ceviche 2/6
- Fresh tuna marinated in chillies, ginger, fresh lemon juice and coconut.
- I liked this one the least. It was a bit sweet and too creamy and I thought it masked the tuna. However the quality of the tuna wasn't that high. I expect citrusy flavours when I'm eating a ceviche, and this one was just too sweet.
- It wasn't lightly coated in coconut milk so it was too rich for a ceviche. There was little flavour besides the coconut milk.
- $13 separately
- Baru Ceviche 4.5/6
- Shrimp, halibut, avocado, fresh lemon juice, tomatoes, onion, cilantro.
- This was the best one and had the most flavour. It was the most traditional and most citrusy. You could really taste the fresh lemon juice. There was cooked baby shrimp and a little bit of mustard seed, however this flavour didn't stand out. I was able to see the seeds when I put my cellphone light up to it. It was refreshing and the avocado was a a great addition.
- $13 separately
- Patacones 2/6
- It's a twice fried plantain - which is a type of banana that's firmer, very starchy, and low in sugar.
- There homemade here, which they have to be, but they weren't served hot. I think they just made a batch and kept them under a heater. They came to us kind of warm, but not hot and fresh. They weren't crispy and you could tell they had been sitting there.
- Chepen Duck 3.5/6
- Marinated seared duck breast with passion fruit mojo, fresh pear, cilantro rice, and cassavafrits.
- The duck itself was actually pretty well marinated and tender. It was juicy and melted in your mouth and had this buttery texture. There were a lot of pieces, but my complaint is that the skin wasn't crispy. Duck as a fatty layer of skin and it needs to be crispy when you serve it - it's almost a waste if it's not. It was soggy, and tasted like soggy bacon.
- The cilantro rice just had lots of cilantro in it, but no other flavours. It was kind of bland again.
- The passion fruit mojo sauce was tangy and a little sweet. You could taste a light passion fruit flavour, but barely. It was a passion fruit syrup and it needed to be bolder to match the flavour of the duck. It needed to be more reduced and thick because I felt like it was more of a pan jus instead of a sauce.
- The pear was an Anjou pear and it was really ripe, but I'm not sure what the purpose served besides being decorative. It didn't really add to the dish because it was just slices of fresh pear. They also cut into the core of the pear so that was not good at all.
- Cassavafrits were roasted and could have been good except they didn't season them at all. It was almost like a potato, but startchier and more fiberous.
- Overall the dish had a lovely presentation, but it sounds and looks better than it tastes. The star of the dish was the duck, I just wish everything else had come up to the standards of it.
- Pescado Rojo 2.5/6
- Mussels, prawns, scallops, white fish in roasted pepper and tomato broth.
- There were about 2 mussels, 2 scallops and 2 shrimps. The mussels were nice and big and very juicy and the scallops were nice and meaty, but the shrimps were pretty small and shriveled probably from being overcooked.
- My problem with the soup was that everything was cooked separately and then thrown into the soup last minute. The soup was one dimensional with no infusion of flavours and it tasted like a tomato vegetable stock. It was spicy from the chillies, but that's it - just spicy. There was also some cilantro in it, but it didn't do much.
- I also think it should have came with flatbread or some kind of side.