Friday, March 2, 2012

...Azul Bar y Cantina


My favorite color.  The calming effect of blue is something that I have always loved.  Not to mention that when I think of "blue", I think of "water", and water has a calming effect on me, too - whether it be swimming the ocean, or a pool, or taking a shower...

James had been to Azul, which means "blue" in Spanish, several times before, and suggested going there one night while his friend, Andy, was in town.  As always, I'm up for any new restaurant, especially if it is Hispanic or Latino, so I had no problem saying, "Yes!  Let's go!"

 Azul sits on a side street in Leetsdale - in fact, when we parked, I said, "We're here?  This is it?" because it wasn't exactly on a main drag, or at least on what appeared to be a main drag.  A church was across the street, but there were several residences near it as well. 

Can you imagine living across the street from a Mexican restaurant?!  It's a Senorita's dream...

I absolutely loved the blue-ness of the restaurant - the ceiling was blue, but with lots of light-colored wood that really made it pop.

Inside Azul
The menu was a good size - not overwhelming, but with a good amount of options.  We first started with the house chips and salsa, but requested both a mild and hot salsa - we got the house salsa, plus pico de gallo.  We also wanted guacamole, and we were told that they only had table-side guacamole (where they make it at the table, like we had at Verde), so we figured that was fine.

House salsa, chips, pico de gallo
As we looked at the menu, we noticed that there was an option for a "side" of guacamole - $4 - and another option for the table-side guacamole - $10.

Sides - Guacamole - See that?
And even better?  Their definition of "table-side guacamole" is: Bring out mortar and pestle with pico de gallo already in it, 2.) Add avocado 3.) Add lime juice 4.) Mix.
End product
Step 2

At least it tasted good.  I don't know if the experience was worth $10, though.

For my entree, I chose the Vegetable Enchiladas with Mole Sauce - the deciding factor was the huitlacoche.  I had never tried it (knowingly, at least), and I was curious about anything that is also known as "corn smut".  

Who knew corn fungus was such a delicacy?  For a full description, click here.

When it arrived - I was immediately put off.  Not by the corn smut, either:

Vegetable Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
 Iceberg lettuce.  Really?  Don't bury my food in iceberg lettuce!  This was my main complaint at both Gran Agave and Emiliano's - and here it is again.  I had to dig for my enchiladas, which were actually good - I couldn't finish them, though, so I took about half home.  This means that I had some very warm iceberg lettuce mixed in with those enchiladas.

Warm iceberg lettuce is gross.

Have no fear, Las Velas.  You still have my vote for "Best Mole", because the sauce at Azul was not very flavorful.  Maybe the lettuce dulled the taste.

In addition, the rice and beans were ok, but nothing special.  I thought that the beans had a strange aftertaste, but it wasn't with every bite, so I can't really explain how unusual it was.  I think my negativity over the rest of the meal may have taken over at that point.

James chose the Carnitas Plate - slow-braised pork with onions, cilantro, salad (not iceberg either - interesting), and tortillas to make soft tacos.  It also came with rice and pinto beans:

Carnitas Plate
I tasted this, and it was better than what I had, honestly - but remember, I really can't eat pork, so I didn't eat much.

Andy went with a local dish - the Steel City Burrito: New York Strip, seasoned fries, cabbage, chipotle.

Steel City Burrito
Although not exactly "authentic", I thought that this was a good way for Azul to honor the famous Primanti Brothers' sandwich with their own twist.  I did not try this, but Andy liked it a lot!

We decided to get dessert - there are only 3 desserts on the menu: Fried Ice Cream, Flan, and Fried Cheesecake.  We ordered one of each - I went with the Flan, James with the Fried Ice Cream, and Andy with the Fried Cheesecake.  After ordering, our waitress came back to tell us that they were actually out of Fried Cheesecake, so Andy decided to forgo the dessert altogether.

Fried Ice Cream

Both desserts were as delicious as they looked.  My only issue with mine was the fact that my plate was covered with many tufts of whipped cream - I understand that the plate would have been pretty bare without them, but at the same time, maybe smaller plates are a better option?

Overall, the food at Azul was a disappointment to me.  I don't think I'll be driving all that way myself to go there again (and I'm glad James did the driving this time).  Gran Agave and Emiliano's are much closer, and if I want my food buried in iceberg lettuce, I could always go there.

But I don't want my food buried in iceberg lettuce, for the record.

Azul is still my favorite color, but unfortunately, not my favorite Mexican restaurant...

Azul Bar Y Cantina
122 Broad St.
Lettsdale, PA 15056


Azul Bar Y Cantina on Urbanspoon

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