Embrujo Flamenco – Summerlicious Slippage

After such a positive review of Embrujo Flamenco previously, I’m really rather sorry for this post.  We were excited to try their Summerlicious menu, but it didn’t go over so well this time around.

My wife began, like last time, with a red wine sangria, which was adequate.  I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, and when you add to the wine, I become even less so. Not knowing enough to compare it to anything, I’ll pass on judgement and note that it was a nice palate cleanser at times.

For an appetizer, we began with the Carpacho de Melón y Feta, honeydew and feta dressed with lemon and Spanish olive oil.  As is their penchant, the dish was fairly straightforward, which can be very impressive when done well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed here.  The melon didn’t seem to have much flavor to it, and while the lemon did serve to liven the savor, it wasn’t enough.  The olive oil might even have dulled the sweetness of it even further.  Not that the dish was bad, it simply was rather bland.
Carpacho de Melón y Feta: 3.0/5

We also selected the Gazpacho de Sandia, cold watermelon soup.  Melons are definitely a nice choice for emphasizing a very summery feel.  By way of confession, however, Gazpacho has never quite seemed right to me, and this variant didn’t do much to alter that perception.  The difficulty I’ve repeatedly encountered is that it comes out as a single flavor and texture.  There is no nuance to the dish.  It always feels to me like it should be served as a supplement to something else, but here, alone, it was merely a full yet plain starter.  There’s simply nothing interesting about the soup.
Gazpacho de Sandia: 2.5/5

The first entree to arrive was the Paella de Costilla de Cerdo y Nabos, paella with pork ribs and turnips.   Sadly, there was just nothing to this dish.  It would have been an adequate appetizer, but a very insufficient entree.  There was not enough pork ribs to counterbalance the rice, and the turnips were likewise too sparse.  The only flavor that came out at all was the rice, which wasn’t anything special.  Rather disappointing.
Paella de Costilla de Cerdo y Nabos: 2.5/5

The next we sampled was the Tarta de Coliflor con queso parmesano, a cauliflower tart with Parmesan cheese and green peas. Again, this dish brought out the summery feel and was probably one of, if not the highlight of the evening. Cauliflower tends to be somewhat bland for me, but it has a nice texture that they brought out nicely, letting the Parmesan carry the weight. It might have been questionable as an entree again, had it not been for the accompanying greens, which rounded it out overall.
Tarta de Coliflor con queso parmesano: 3.5/5

My wife loves albondigas, so it was unsurprising that we would find the Albóndigas de Cordero en salsa de almendras, lamb meatballs in almond sauce, at our table. They were served at room temperature to fit the season, though I rather wish they hadn’t.  This was served so similarly to the Chorizo con Brandy from our previous meal here that perhaps our sights were set too high, but these were a far cry from the chef’s chorizo creation. Served cold, the meat didn’t hold its savor, and the sauce didn’t serve to hide the lack. In fact, the sauce, too, didn’t seem to have any complexity or richness to it when served cold. The simplicity of the dish was just unsuccessful here.
Albóndigas de Cordero en salsa de almendras: 3.0/5

I was hoping for quite a bit from the Empanaditas de pollo con salsa, mini chicken empanadas with both smoked chipotle and green tomatillo salsa.  While I normally find chipotle to taste a little burnt, this didn’t suffer from that aftertaste at all.  The tomatillo salsa was the one that actually disappointed me a bit, not because it wasn’t done well, but simply because it wasn’t interesting in any way. The empanadas themselves were satisfying, but a little hot, which made them hard to get a full flavor out of.  A good tapas dish, but, again, nothing noteworthy.
Empanaditas de pollo con salsa: 3.5/5

The desserts they offered were actually not those originally from the Summerlicious menu, so I don’t have the official titles.  Truth be told, neither was all that impressive anyway. The chocolate cake was dry, and the icing and frosting, while nice, were completely insufficient to make up for that lack.  I remember little chocolate to the taste as well. The presentation was good, but the cake itself was quite disappointing.
Chocolate cake: 2.0/5

Finally, they served roasted pear in an alcohol sauce of some sort.  I don’t recall what kind, nor did any particular flavor rise out of it.  The pear itself, for being roasted, was not cooked long enough and was still rather hard and difficult to cut, particularly without having been provided knives.  Even the presentation was too plain.  The flavor wasn’t bad, but it was little different from having something straight from the fruit seller’s cart. It seemed like there was little effort made in its preparation.
Roasted Pear: 1.5/5

Having been so happy with our previous experience at Embrujo Flamenco, this was very much a disappointment.  I suspect that the Summerlicious menu was part of the problem, being something they don’t make a great deal of money from, but if you don’t provide care to those who are sampling your restaurant, I’m not sure how you expect them to come back again.  My respect has indeed slipped, and I’m sorry for that.

Embrujo Flameno:  2.688/5
97 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
Embrujo Flamenco Tapas on Urbanspoon

About Matthew

I am a student and teacher of Christian spiritual formation, currently engaged in Ph.D. work at the Toronto School of Theology and University of Toronto. I also serve on the advisory council for Grafted Life Ministries and occasionally mentor others via various means. For fun, I dabble in multiple unusual art forms, collect gemstones, and read whatever strikes my fancy.
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