Thursday, July 2, 2009

Grano de Oro Restaurant, San Jose, Costa Rica

On our last stop before returning from our Costa Rican surf trip, we stayed at Hotel Grano de Oro in San Jose. The hotel is a converted Victorian mansion and its restaurant is considered one of San Jose's finest. The restaurant is comprised of a dining room and a garden courtyard; we sat in the former. The clientele was mainly middle-aged and well dressed; I was relieved that they let me dine in a sundress and flip flops.. Scanning the menu, there were so many items that I wanted: foie gras, duck pate, duck, lamb chops, a rabbit medley, scallops, fish.. what's a girl to do??

My dining companion and I decided on an appetizer and an entree each. We ordered a bottle of Bodega del Fin del Mundo, an Argentinean pinot noir from Patagonia. I'm typically a white wine drinker but the pinot noir was light and smooth, with a hint of spice.

The waiter came around with bread and herb butter: I got the twist which was fresh and warm. Over the course of dinner, I devoured 3 of these.

My appetizer was the foie gras creme brulee with poached pear and crostini. The foie was only a tiny layer right under the caramelized sugar on the creme brulee. That was one darn good creme brulee and the foie worked well with the mild flavor of the brulee. Of course, I always wish there were more foie but it was definitely a great start to the meal.
My friend got the heart of palm salad with lettuce, asparagus and avocado in dill dressing. The asparagus was crisp and the relatively flavorless heart of palm (which appears to be very popular in Latin America cuisine) took on the flavor of the dill dressing. Very light and refreshing dish.
I decided on the roasted duck breast for my entree. It was served with a pate crostini, brussel sprouts, caramelized fig and butternut squash. The duck was cooked perfectly, was extemely tender and had a nice crust to it. I especially loved the pate crostini and wished there was more than one.

He got the Beef Tenderloin with asparagus and garden vegetables. It was served with 3 sauces (cocoa, bernaise and peppercorn). We tried each of the three and the peppercorn was the winner. The cocoa was also interesting and unique. Both entrees came with a side of mash potatoes which were creamy and buttery.

Although I was a little full by the time we were done with our entrees, skipping dessert is never an option. We shared the trio of chocolate (chocolate mousse, ganache, marquise and a cup of coffee mousse). The ganache was our favorite. It was chilled and hard, rich and delicious. We ended the night with a cup of cafe con leche each. Costa Rican coffee is amazing and flavorful.

The bill came with two chocolate truffles. I almost fell off my seat when I saw that our check came up to 73,400 colones (which converts to $126). This already includes tax and a 10% tip (of course we added another 10% tip to the bill). I was so pleasantly surprised as a similar dinner in LA would have cost us at least that amount per person, often times more. Most definitely a great deal for an excellent dinner.

Hotel Grano de Oro
Calle 30, Avenida 2 y 4,
San Jose, Costa Rica
(506) 2255-3322

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