Xiomara Report (long)
Visiting SF Chowhound had a disappointing experience at Xiomara Saturday before seeing Fences at the Pasadena Playhouse. It was okay, but not the special experience I had hoped for, and thought the service was particularly amateurish.
I had reserved Cafe Atlantic thoug Open Table, but having never been there, did not realize that I had been seated in Xiomara. Not the worst outcome, but I do think that the host should have confirmed what I wanted, rather than simply seating me in the high end establishment.
When seated, I decided to take the seating at Xiomara instead of Cafe Atlantic as a sign, because the menu looked great, and I had read all the good press. Started with their special mojito. Overall, it was fine, but the glassware angled so that the glass looks like it was tipping over, which made it unsteady. I also thought it and was kind of tacky for a classy restaurant. Wine by the glass came with an empty glass and the wine in little carafes, so that the glass itself did not get changed. Also found the wine list kind of odd--bottles were either very cheap, or fairly expensive. Nothing in the middle ($40-$50) range, and not a single Zinfandel (which would have gone with my pork entree).
The salad and egg roll appetizers were competent, but nothing special. After our appetizers were delivered, our waiter announced someone else would be taking care of us. When entrees were delivered, we found that the original waiter had confused my order, ordering me pork hash instead of the special pork tenderloin. 20 minutes to make a new one. I was very nice about it, and sampled off my companion's plates. Flank steak was great--tender, a little spicy. Giant shrimp were not bad, but the mango sauce was much too subtle for me. When the pork tenderloin finally came out, it was nicely done. Nothing particularly Latin about it, but the pork was moist, I enjoyed the spicy peppercorn crust and the rich risotto underneath. My primary complaint is how they handled the mixup. It was the other waiter's problem, and he wasn't there anymore. We were offered nothing for the inconvenience. A small gesture, such as comping the glass of wine I ordered while waiting for my dinner, or comping the coffees would have been sufficient.
Overall, no one in the house looked experienced enough to complain to and we had a show to see, so I didn't bother. Tab for 2 appetizers, 3 entrees, 3 cocktails and 3 glasses of wine was about $180 before tip.
Wow - I hope the mixup with reservation didn't earn you a no-show black mark on OT (4 of those and your account's gone!) I've only gone to Xiomara's during happy hours and yea... those angled glasses they use for mojitos can make things interesting (esp. after you had a few, heh.) But I like the small plates and apps -- though the general CH opinion is that their food's overpriced.
If you were expecting Cuban food, you would have been better off at Cafe Atlantic. (And it would have saved you about a hundred dollars on the food.)