Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro – Bonita

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Romesco is a Mexican-Mediterranean fusion restaurant and tapas bar nestled next to a neighborhood grocery store in Bonita. Romantic couples, old friends, businesspeople and children on their best behavior gather inside this elegant, yet unassuming bistro for one reason, the food. The vast and varying menu of Romesco’s offerings is the genius of Tijuana-born head chef and Hispanic food celebrity Javier Plascencia. Plascencia set out to bring a touch of Baja to cuisine from the Southern European coast. The WHOLE southern coast; Greek, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese dishes are done to perfection with a Mexican twist. Much like the wonderful servers at Romesco I’ll get right down to business, bringing you some of the best, most creative, most unique dishes you could ever hope for.

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Spanish Roadside Ahi Tuna Tostada – A healthy portion of the freshest fish served with a light, airy guacamole, mixed greens, habanero olive oil and smooth, cool cream all piled on a crispy tostada. Very clean flavor, full of citrus and spice, the ingredients accentuate the fish in such an amazing way. On a side note, this was one of FIVE unique tortilla preparations, each made in-house and perfect for their accompaniments.

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Orejas Del Mar King Top Shell – Ears of the ocean, King Top Shell is a large sea snail relative to the abalone. I’m as surprised as you to say that the snail was one of my favorite preparations of the meal, absolutely delicious. The bite carries acid and heat from citrus, tomato and habanero, which marry perfectly with the texture of the protein, firm, almost crunchy, a perfect vessel for the sauce. Once it is done, no heat or fishy taste remain just the cool, clean sauce and salt of the tostada. I could have eaten 30 of them.

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Bone Marrow Sope – This Mexican delicacy blends slow-roasted bone marrow, fried parsley, beef and chile gravy and a fresh salsa. The ingredients are intended to be mixed on a thick, masa torta to create a soup tostada if you will. The gravy alone was savory and delicious, but as a whole, the dish was too greasy for my liking.

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Taquitos Dorados De Cachete – A gorgeously-presented inverted beef cheek taco. The meat inside is flavorful, a great consistency, and perfectly cooked and seasoned. Salsa, cream, cojito cheese, greens and pickled onions stack tall on top. This dish somehow screams Mexican street food and fine dining in the same breath, Chef Plascencia’s vision realized.

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Gobernadores –  A shrimp and mozzarella quesadilla pocket served with tomatillo salsa and lemon. Crunchy tortilla, firm, tasty shrimp and tons of gooey cheese. The salsa provided a strong spice I had been looking for, one that demanded relief from a sip of water or bite of cheese. This was an immediate favorite and a dish we will humbly look to recreate at home.

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Pulpo Asado A Las Brasas – Thick-cut, chargrilled octopus tentacles in an herbaceous oil. We were recommended to eat this dish over bread, which we readily accepted. If you’ve never had an octopus sandwich, get one, now. The texture was a bit chewy in some pieces but the seasoning was absolutely spot-on throughout.

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Cochinita Torta – Slow cooked and marinated pork tacos that make you want to lick your plate clean. There was spice, there was cilantro, there was fat, there was freshness. There were flavors so complex they were almost indiscernible. No one does pulled pork like the Spanish and Romesco does it better than most.

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Tableside Caesar Salad – This fun break in the food onslaught is a nod to Plascencia’s Tijuana roots. The Caesar salad was invented on the Baja and has been done just like this for years. Your server can tell the story better than I, but I’ll say that this course exemplifies Romesco’s marriage of culture and cuisine in a fun and creative way.

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Beef Short Rib in Cabernet Sauce – Simply put, the best short ribs I’ve ever had. The sauce is rich and full-bodied and the red wine shines through. The meat is so tender it might fall apart if you blew on it. This dish is Romesco’s star and for good reason. The flavor and texture of this dish is incomparable and the portion is heartily filling. I would come to Romesco again for this dish and nothing else.

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Churros with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce and Mexican hot chocolate – As if we needed it, this three part dessert capped off the meal exceptionally. Exactly the crunch, sweetness and doughiness required for a good churro, taken with a spoonful of ice-cream and a sip of hot chocolate. Mexican dessert perfected.

Throughout the meal I was served two cocktails; a tamarind martini and a cucumber-mint martini, both rimmed with tamarind and chile sauce. The tamarind was slightly too tart, but the cucumber was outstanding and a drink that done right, that could cool and refresh you on the hottest day of the year.

When eating at Romesco, there is only one rule: be adventurous. Try things you have never before and experiment with flavors and preparations. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro
4346 Bonita Road
Bonita, Ca 91902
http://www.romescomexmed.com
Romesco Baja Med Bistro on Urbanspoon

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About Anthony

A classically trained journalist and self-proclaimed foodie. A newbie to the San Diego food scene. I came down from Northern California to explore this territory's diverse and exciting cuisine. See through the eyes of a gracious newcomer and join me as I explore the people and places that define San Diego food.

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