Thursday, July 31, 2008

Restaurant Review: Cita's Italian Chophouse, Coconut Grove

A few nights ago I met up with a few friends for dinner at Cita's Italian Chophouse which had just opened in the Grove recently. I had been wanting to give this new joint a try because I need a new place to add to my "just back in town dinner" rotation. We started with the burrata and the scallop appetizers. The burrata was good. Nothing to get excited about but good nonetheless. I thought it was lacking in the creamy department, like the piece we got was mostly the outside layer. Anyhow, the scallops kicked major ass. They came wrapped in prosciutto on top of some sauteed greens with a creamy mustard/red peppercorn sauce. The sauce was housed in a little cup so you could apply to your own taste and I liked that because I like to taste the scallop without sauce first. This scallop was perfectly cooked and tasted delicious on its own but the sauce took it to a whole 'nother level.

Next up 2 of us had the Soup of the Day (potato) and one requested the house salad. The soup was incredibly good. Normally when I think potato soup I think "heavy" but this was potato puree and it was light and tasty. Arugula and parmesan floated around and added flavor to each bite. I didnt try the salad but I was told it was really good. So good, that when the person who ordered the "house salad" found out it was the Cita's Chop Salad at $14 he said he'd get it again anyday.

Mains came out and each one was a winner. I had the grouper and my friends had the rack of lamb and salmon. The grouper was moist and flaky and full of flavor. The lemon caper sauce was a great add too as was the side of jasmine rice. Only disappointment for me was that I was so full that I had my membership to the Clean Plate Club temporarily suspended. I just couldnt finish the rice. I tasted the rack of lamb and it was damn good, especially with the roasted garlic. I was too full for the salmon but the person who had it was picky about salmon and said it passed the test.

Throughout the meal, the waiter was very informative and made recommendations when asked. At one point, there was a mixup with what was ordered and what was received and the waiter not only found a way to remedy the situation, he then offered to buy dessert. Dessert came like a "chocolate 5-ways". There was a chocolate lava cake, peanut butter panna cotta topped with chocolate shavings & whipped cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate ice cream, and a white/black chocolate mousse. I dont even like chocolate much but I tried everything but the cookie and it was allllllll gooooooood.

I gotta say, I went it expecting to have an average meal and was completely blown away. The menu is quite extensive, good wine selection, incredibly good service (just opened recently and still working out a few kinks but the staff was informative, speedy, and eager to please and remedy any mistakes), and the food was phenomenal. We got a tour after dinner that exposed a whole other mini-bar and back dining patio that I never wouldve imagined being there. It was really cool. This one will be a winner in the Grove, mark my words. They have what Grove yuppies and the like have been looking for - fantastic food in a neighborhood setting. The prices are slightly expensive but they are justified by the ingredients and quality of each dish. I definitely recommend checking out this restaurant to anyone looking for a nice meal in the Grove.

Cita's Italian Chophouse
3176 Commodore Plaza
Coconut Grove, FL 33133