This past weekend, I took a quick trip down to LA to celebrate my friend Sonia’s early birthday. I feel as though LA has been a theme for me recently, but I promise this update is worth it.
After a wonderful $4 dinner of fish tacos, chips and salsa at Hole Mole in Long Beach on Friday night, we headed out for the ‘big night’ on Saturday. A celebratory evening at Asia de Cuba. Asia de Cuba is a fusion restaurant with several locations–one in New York, LA, and as I recently discovered, in my own city by the bay. When I walked into the space, I felt as though I was in Miami in one of those bedroom restaurants. Everything was white–white chairs, tables, linens, etc. I was about to lay down and ask someone to feed me grapes, when we were sat at a cozy table, close to the window revealing a gorgeous lit up landscape of Los Angeles. Surprisingly, a refreshing view!
We kicked off the evening with Lychee martinis as well as mango and pineapple mojitos. Our waiter was possibly one of the most obnoxious and overbearing servers I’ve ever had. When we asked him what the lobster boniato-mash was, his response was, “We put lobster in our mashed potatoes…because we can.” This statement pretty much summarized the culinary explosion that I experienced that night. The restaurant urges visitors to order ‘family style’–sharing appetizers and main courses to get a taste of everything. We started off light–a special hamachi sushi roll, followed by scallops with plantains in some sort of creamy goodness sauce. After much deliberation, Sonia persevered in ordering lobster dumplings in a citrusy sauce–well worth it!
For our mains, we went with short ribs accompanied by plantains and a black bean puree in addition to a butterfish with edamame and of course–the lobster mashed potatoes, which really did have huge chunks of lobster meat treasured inside. I could hardly concentrate on anything aside from the taste explosions in my mouth. Every sauce had a unique texture and vivid flavor. The thing I love about food is the combination of texture and flavor that interplay inside your mouth. As the butterfish melts on the tip of your tongue, the combination of tender lobster meat in creamy mashed potatoes radiate across the back of the mouth.
Overall, I was pretty taken aback by the restaurant. In all honesty, I expected a highly pretentious and overpriced meal that would do little for my impression than allow me to enjoy the company of my friends in a posh setting and pretend for a second that I was a celebrity. Asia de Cuba proved me wrong. So wrong, that while I was freezing my butt off waiting to get into a likely overrated Hollywood club on an uncharacteristically cold LA night, all I could think about was how good it feels to have an amazing meal in good company and hardly care how much money I dropped. It’s hard not to slightly cringe at a bill, but I’m pretty sure I was on some higher level that night.