Saturday, November 27, 2010

Return to Amazonia...

...with swords and no camera*.

Five years had passed since we'd last dined at Morelia's Amazonia, a Brazilian-styled restaurant, where, for a fixed price, you are brought sizzling cuts of meats on "swords", plus a nice variety of side dishes. We'd tried to go here sooner, but the circumstances were never quite right. This time, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friend, Larry, a devoted carnivore.

When we entered the restaurant, located at Avenida Camelinas 287, I was struck by how it had been so nicely renovated. Larry commented that you get a good first impression by how clean the glass was that partitioned the foyer from the dining rooms. This first impression was true throughout the restaurant.
There are at least two large dining rooms, each freshly painted and hung with casual but tasteful art and posters.

When we were seated at the table of our choice (it was not yet busy when we arrived) we were offered a complimentary cocktail of fruit juices and booze. We decided to pass and had limonada, mineral water and a glass of fair Mexican Cabernet Sauvignon.

Salads: lettuce and tomato, creamy potato salad; a particularly picante salsa, rice, black beans and some unusually good bread came. Next, cups of tasty chicken consommé with won ton or kreplach like dumplings. Unusual, given the setting, but appreciated. The famed bolitas de arroz rice fritters were not present. They are beloved by Ms. Rose of Morelia, who introduced us to Amazonia, but we managed fine without them.

Soon, the first sword bearing waiter came to us with grilled chistorra, a tasty but somewhat salty sausage. This was he beginning of an fairly steady series of attractive and appetizing meat cuts borne on the swords I remember sirloin, arrachera, filete con tocino, picaña, chorizos in the South American style: short, plump, tasty grilled sausages.

Doña Cuevas requested cebollas asadas, which were duly delivered, in their black charred skins. Inside is a moist onion, sweetened by the fire. Add a squirt of lime juice and salt for a treat.

Toward the latter part of the meal, grilled pineapple appeared. It was good, but our only quibble was that instead of grilling it to a nice, caramelized light char as they had in the past, this had only a brief heating, followed by a dusting of cinnamon.

Finally, sated, we had to turn away further offerings of grilled meats. Our main waiter offered us complimentary tapioca pudding. We accepted with restrained but childish glee. It was very nice pudding.
Why tapioca? Probably because tapioca starch is derived from manioc root, a food staple in the real Amazonia.

The bill was $928 pesos for three of us. The "buffet" part was $235 each, the balance coming from beverages and "extras. (Bit of a gap here. Now I'm wondering if here was an included service charge, which we'd overlooked.)

We were pleased with the experience and would return. Maybe not as soon as next week, or next month, but certainly before 5 years had passed.

The Ratings

Food: ****1/2
Service: *****
Ambience: ****
Restrooms: sparkling
Price: $$$

Restaurante Amazonia
Avenida Camelinas 287
Félix Ireta, 58070 Morelia, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico
01 443 315 9797

*For photos, click here.


Michael Dickson said...

Nice rundown, but that place is way over my tight-fisted budget.

Don Cuevas said...

Not even once in 5 years, Felipe?
Anyway, you have told us in the past that you're not mch of meat eater.

Don Cuevas

jennifer rose said...

No pickled beets or pan de queso? Sometimes the water forgets, so you have to remind him. There is no way the restaurant would operate without the fried rice balls. Ask, ask, and you shall have.

Platanos fritos are also among the desserts included.

Don Cuevas said...

Jennifer, I simply forgot about the pickled beets. They were more like lightly dressed, sliced boiled beets, but delicious. Pan de queso was offered just as we were about to leave. At that point, it wasn't necessary. The flour-dusted bread served at the beginning was unusually good. I wonder where they get it.
Maybe next time we'll get bolitas de arroz. I know we'd have them for sure if you were with us.

Larry especially liked the potato salad, and we got seconds of that.
(All these tasty carbos are filler, to moderate your meat intake.)

Only the piña wasn't quite what it could be, but it was still good.

Don Cuevas

Michael Dickson said...

Yeah, I´m not a big meat-eater. Plus, that kind of restaurant is precisely the sort of place where some guy comes in and shoots the police chief in the ear at the next table where he is eating his sword meat with his wife, kids and mother-in-law.

In those joints you should keep your eye on the door and always be ready to dive under your table.

Well, that´s what my wife says.

Tancho said...

The last time we tried the place it was hopping full with a few parties creating an almost unbearable noise level, at least the outside playground level kept almost, all the kids from running around the tables inside(almost).
Our food was good with service being equally decent, my only complaint was that half of the sausages presented to us that day were way to overcooked or should I say over warmed a few too many times, since they were mostly all devoid of any moisture (flavor enhancing grease (juice)) and were a tad unpleasant to enjoy. The other meats were delicious, not overcooked or dried out. I would like to try it another time, but with the bill of fare, it's is not a place you go to very often...

Steve Cotton said...

Another spot for me to add for special events when I visit your part of the world.

Don Cuevas said...

Could be, Felipe and Sra. Zapata.

When we were there there was an powerful looking, older, crewcut guy with a splendid younger, Modiglianesque woman. in a booth across from us.

I tried not to stare too much in their direction. When I last looked, they were daintily nibbling their mameyes.

Don Cuevas

jennifer rose said...

Amazonias is not the kind of place Felipe suggests. Los Caporales is.

Don Cuevas said...

We ate at Los Caporales once (the one near Costco). We liked nothing about it.

Don Cuevas