Paen to Chicama
Finally, a big-ticket dinner that was utterly worth it. Lately my boyfriend and I have been regretting our splurges-- Meigas was so-so (discuss: does anyone else find Jonathan Gold's reviews in Gourmet to be unreliable? Why can't I remember him ever panning anything?), Lupa uninspiring and rushed.
We couldn't have picked a less promising time to visit Chicama (6 pm on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend), and I can't imagine eating a better meal, or being served by a better waiter (his name's Rudy, in case you get to sit in his section. Whoever you get, ask him or her to recommend wines that aren't on the list--Chicama inherited its predecessor's cellar, and they're working their way through it and serving it by the glass).
Oysters Rodriguez-- plump fried oysters, each perched on a luxurious mound of cheesy, mashed South American root vegetables
Rainbow ceviche-- individual salmon, tuna, and merluz ceviches, buttery fish and tangy with lime
Special cod, velvety on the inside, crackling with crunchy bits on the outside, with a spicy paprika sauce (Rodriguez is just back from Spain), brisk radish salad, sprinkled with bits of deep fried serrano ham
Succulent roasted chicken with tangy, blistery skin, more wonderful mashed South American root veggies (I can't keep them straight)
A buttery, cinnamon-scented pound cake-ish dessert, topped with the best cinnamon ice cream i've ever had. ordinary sounding to read, but perfect to eat.
Anyway, I know there are a lot of folks who come to this list looking for recommendations for special event dinners. This is definitely mine.