Andalu excels is some areas, falls short in others

 

Play with your food! Fun and tasty polenta fries are only one of Andalu's great small plates

It always fun to eat at a venue which offers tapas or small plates, especially if they are reasonably priced, providing the opportunity to sample an assortment from a tempting menu; Andalu provides just that. With an inventive and imaginative selection, trying the flavors of 7 menu items for under $60 with a cocktail speaks to why, even on a Tuesday night, the place was packed.  Great atmosphere, upbeat yet comfy decor, and an extensive and interesting bar menu.

Service was adequate, if spotty, with an 8th entrée never arriving and the server not even taking notice. As for the food, some of it was outstanding, some no so much, often within the same dish”

  • -Ahi Tartar Tacos (4) with Chili and Lime, Mango Salsa  for $10, but a bargain on Tuesdays at $1 each provide a perfect 2 bites of texture and taste. The tartar is delicate, not tough, seasoned exactly right, and not too juicy, so as to ruin the crispy mini golden tortilla in which it is nested.
  • -Curly Polenta Fries, Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette   $7.25  Play with your food… fun shapes and again, great technique, fried to a perfect crisp without a hint of greasiness.
  • -Halibut Paillard with Cilantro, Ginger, Soy, and Hot Grapeseed Oil   $9.25  Unforunately, where the technique succeeded, the flavors did not. The paillard was delicate, thin and perfectly cooked, the presentation left something to be desired but most disappointing was the fact that the soy so overpowered the dish that it was almost inedible.
  • -Crispy Mac and Cheese with Herb Tomato Vinaigrette  $7.50.  This was an example of how Andalu is full of fun and surprise; these are actually almost like fries, crusted, deep-fired mac ‘n cheese “sticks” that are split long ways to reveal the cheesy macaroni inside- great with the dipping sauce, technique, balance, texture and taste, it was all there.
  • -Roasted Chicken Breast with Truffle Leek  Mashed Potatoes, Jus Natural $ -10.5 Again, the technique exceeded expectations with a perfectly moist and golden browned piece of chicken, and while the flavor and texture of the mashed potatoes took this simple, almost peasant plate to new heights, the “jus” was way too heavily salted.
  • -Brussels Sprouts Sauteed in Caper Brown Butter   $5.25 Cooked and flavored perfectly, among one of the best dishes of the evening.
  • -Green Beans and Shallots in a warm Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette  $ 4.5 Cooked almost al dente, good crunch, flavors were just a little underwhelming but after the over-salted proteins, this was almost a welcome relief.

Overall, the concept, atmosphere are menu are all well-conceived. With just a slightly more delicate hand in the area of seasoning, this could easily be a five-star eating experience.

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