A (Disappointing) Dinner at Cabrito
Cabrito, the former BarFry space where white tiles and the Japanese-inspired tempura that made this place, transformed into a loud, tequila-heavy bar that serves Mexican-inspired street food.
I wanted to try Cabrito just because of the chef, David Schuttenberg, formerly of Fatty Crab. Back when I went to Fatty Crab the past fall for brunch and it quite good, so my hopes that he’ll carry the similar quality of cooking to Mexican food here.
When I arrived with three friends, Doug, Ariel, and Helen, the place was fairly packed with people during Happy Hour. Lots of people were drinking rather than actually cared for a sit-down dinner and care about the food.
But since it was a hot day and it seems like everyone but me, wanted liquor and beer. Ariel got himself a shot of absinthe and the Sauzerac cocktail, and Doug and Helen got themselves a Corona beer with lime. I prefer to stay sober just because I could live with out booze and not get that “buzz” feeling that seems to appeal to a lot of people.
When the shrimp and tamarind ceviche arrived, as the server indicated, the size is on the small side. It’s meant to be shared but nevertheless, this dish appealed to us. The shrimp was fresh and soaked in the spicy flavor of the serrano chilies (which blew out my voice and made me tear for a minute since I accidentally ate its seed) and the tart tamarind water as the base of this marinade. The creamy chunks of avocado gave it some texture contrast to all the chewiness of the shrimp. It’s good but I’m not swooned by it.
Doug ordered himself two overpriced al carbon (skirt steak) tacos. I said overpriced, I meant the fact that you could get the same or better quality steak tacos elsewhere in the city. And they cost $5 a piece. I didn’t taste them myself but he said that it’s decent.
Then came their namesake dish, the cabrito, which is a braised goat dish. I thought it tasted like pork rather than goat initially, but texturally it’s not the same as pork. I think. I don’t have much experience with goat meat so I can’t tell you. Anyway, this was a good, flavorful dish except it’s a bit too salty for my tastebuds. Just to note, the sour cream and the sweet-savory sauce that accompanied did cut the salt a bit. I just realized after viewing their menu again, we didn’t get any flour tortillas with the dish. Argh.
And finally arrived the jalapeño rellenos. Chile rellenos are traditionally stuffed with cheese or pork sausage picadillo, dipped in batter and it’s fried. This dish however was obviously a different take on it. The pepper is fresh, stuffed with fluffy cod meat, raisins, pepitas and capers. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the flavor combination of this dish since nothing really stood out in my mind what was tasty.
Overall, this dinner was very light since the portions of the dishes are on the small side and it’s not worth what we paid for. But taking it from Ariel’s side effects from his drinks, it must be good since he kind of lost his mind when he’s calculating his tip.
50 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014