Post-Boxing Day shopping last month, Joe and I were lazy but I was still in the mood for some good eats. We had reservations at Tzin for New Year’s Eve already so I sadly scratched that off my list of “places good to eat, within 5 minutes walking distance”. A discussion with my cousin a few days earlier brought up Sabor Divino as one of his favorite places to dine. The last time I was there was for a lunch during what must have been Downtown Dining week as I distinctly remember a set lunch menu and a cheap bill for my student days. It was due for another round!
The dinner menu had a variety of dishes in each course, something for every one. All of the appetizers sounded delicious but I had a hankering for a main course. We were both hungry though, so with no hesitation, we ordered two appetizers, two entrées, and two taster sized desserts.
The meal was started off with a bread basket, butter, and a balsamic-olive oil mix. My preference for bread is served warm, and although these were served at room temperature, the bread was quite good. I was curious as to why the balsamic vinegar did not mix with the oil when I dipped my bread, it seemed stuck on the bottom of the plate. Using the butter knife to mix the two didn’t seem to work either, so I skipped it entirely and just had butter on my slices.
My appetizer of choice was the Basque tuna tartar, made with fresh ahi tuna, and a mixture of tomato, red peppers, shallots, parsley, and a white balsamic vinaigrette. The toasted crostinis were a different sort than our bread basket, but it paired well with the tartar. I think this is the first time I’ve had a tuna tartar prepared in a European style, and I think I prefer the Japanese styles of tuna better. Best leave the beef tartare for my taste buds at Western or European style restaurants! The mixture was well done though, very fresh.
Joe’s selection was the grilled calamari. We both must have entirely ignored the “grilled” description and pictured the typical fried calamari rings in our hungry heads., because when it was served, we both looked at it strangely. Nevertheless, it was delicious! I enjoyed white bean purée and olive oil and lemon juice drizzled around made an excellent sauce. I only noticed a couple of chorizo sausage pieces, finely diced and dispersed throughout the dish and wished it was somehow incorporated better to offer a stronger flavor. The calamari was cooked perfectly though and not overly chewy.
My entrée for the night was the tagliatelle with lobster and prawns. The sauce was a white wine cream sauce with saffron and diced tomatoes. I loved this dish! I’m always craving for creamy pasta dishes that taste fresh and not too heavy. A hard feat, but I think I’ve found a good contender! The sauce itself must have been infused with the lobster or prawn broth though because even the sauce had notes of the seafood in it. The pasta tasted fresh, the right thickness, and cut into fork-friendly pieces. Yummy!
Joe ordered the black spaghetti (infused in squid ink) with prawns and scallops. His sauce was more subtle, mild flavors from diced peppers, zucchini, crimini mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil and minimal amounts of chili. With no cream or tomato heavy sauces, the dish was very light and reminded me of a spring or summer dish, rather than a hearty winter meal he was looking for. He preferred my dish, which I ultimately traded him, but I enjoyed the simplicity of his entrée. Although a healthy alternative to my own meal, I would have liked to have some sort of richness to the sauce, perhaps a little bit of butter, even on the seared scallops, might have changed it.
Desserts were offered in their full portions or a “temptation size” for those who wanted a taste of everything. I went for gusto and ordered my own, knowing full well I’d be struggling for the last few bites. Joe ordered the tiramisu, beautifully presented and moist with rich espresso.
I, on the other hand, ordered the leite crème, a Portuguese version of my favorite crème brûlée. The main difference, the addition of cinnamon on the top when caramelized with sugar, and an extra lightness to the custard. Compared to the French version of the dish, the Portuguese use milk instead of cream, which was a little easier on an already full stomach.
Overall, the meal was a solid effort, delivering a few great hits and a couple of good, but not mind-blasting, dishes. I remembered the lunch was a bit more memorable and perhaps the downtown lunch crowd has made Sabor Divino focus its efforts there. I’ll have to stop by for lunch one day and try to recreate that moment! Priced a bit steeply, I think dinner at the restaurant would be a once in a year or so event for me, splitting its time amongst other fine dining establishments.