Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ciento- St. Louis Park

Ciento is a new mexican restaurant where Major's once stood. It boasts itself a tequila bar and mexican kitchen. They serve the usual Mexiamerican food - enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos and some combination plates. On a quite hungry Tuesday evening, Mr. H, his son, and I decided to try this new place out.

I admit - I was judgmental about this place. Could it be that a restaurant replacing Majors is at all good? Look how brazenly and generically it's displayed, easily viewable to 394 passerby! I entered with some trepidation.

The interior is what you would expect - some mexican plates adorning the walls, pillars, warm colors, the bathrooms appropriately marked in Spanish. We grabbed an available booth and hunkered down.

They do indeed boast 100 tequilas anywhere from $4 to $85 (Patron Burdeos..) a pop. We weren't in a tequila shot mood (Tuesday night...5 PM!) but Mr. H ordered the Tajito (Don Julio Blanco, agave nectar, lime juice, mint leaves, club soda - 8.00.) It arrived quickly, along with our chips and salsa, which they offer for $1.99. The drink was awesome. What is basically a tequila mojito gets a little twist with agave nectar (instead of sugar) and lime juice (almost sure they used sweetened- a HUGE difference) and it was just perfect. It was balanced perfectly, with the lime at the center, backed up by mint, bubbly soda, a hint of sweetness and silver tequila. Mr. H thought it should be sweeter/ have more mint, but I prefer them a bit more simple. Probably the best mojito I've ever had, besides my own.

We finally ordered (the menu isn't 5 pages long, thankfully) and I ordered the Camarones (Grilled flour tortillas with grilled achiote shrimp, grilled pineapple, diced onion, cilantro - $9.99) and Mr. H the Chimichanga with Carnita (Crisp fried burrito filled with your choice of meat and rice then topped with salsa verde, queso blanco or ranchera sauce. Served with lettuce,
sour cream, pico de gallo and charro beans - $8.99) and then we dug into our chips and salsa, which were another pleasant surprise. The chips were warm, thin and crispy; not crunchy and a hard assault on your mouth. The salsa was a hint sweet, a hint spice and lots of tomato, and was a nice mix of sauce to chunky. Best chips and salsa I've had. The waitress offered us hot salsa, and said it was really hot. We weren't fazed, and she brought us a green sauce that we dug into with vigor. After about 10 seconds, it hit us. The waitress wasn't kidding. That stuff was seriously spicy. We didn't even touch it after that.

CamaronesI was pleased with the presentation and size of the entree. It didn't make me want to run away, and it looked very appetizing and like good authentic Mexican tacos. In each, there were 3 plump shrimp which were succulent and sweet. There was a good hint of cilantro and lime, and not much onion (which I personally like. I hate being overpowered with onion.) The shells were warm and not too dry, but chewy and soft. The only thing that threw me was the pineapple, It was a little too firm, and it didn't meld together anywhere. It wasnt unpleasant, but it was...misplaced. The rice was a bit sweet, and the charro beans are OFF THE HOOK. They are pinto beans with BACON. They are smokey, salty and awesome. Overall very very pleased with my dish.

Chimi with Carnita

I personally loved this. The pork was very, very savory and tender. The best pork I've had in a long time. The rice to meat ratio was like 4 - 10. I hate getting a ton of rice in my burritos. This had lots of juicy tender meat, and I loved it. Mr. H didn't care for it too much, and though it was too one note. I can see where he is coming from, as it could have used another element- maybe spicy or salty? - to balance it out.

To wrap up the night, we decided to try a shot from the tequla list. At the top of the list is the " Oro" section (the cheaper stuff - $4-$5) and there listed was a Sauza Giro and a Sauza Gold. I like Sauza, and asked the waitress what the difference was? She wasn't sure, but said she would ask the bartender. I prepared for a long wait, but she was back in 5 minutes explaning the Giro has cane sugar and the gold is just a gold tequila. We ordered one of each, and they also came within 5 minutes (our waitress was ON IT.) Served in skinny tall shot glasses, we imbibed these magical potions. Indeed, the Giro is more sweet and nice, and the Gold is more smoke and burn. Awesome end to the meal.

-Chips and salsa
-Cheap tequila (but good tequila.)
-Our waitress

Not so greats
-That it displays itself out to passerby like a whore on Lake Street.

Ciento on Urbanspoon