Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Over the weekend following Thanksgiving, we had a pre-birthday dinner for Berkeley. His parents treated us to Cafe Roka, an intimate restaurant serving up a unique mix of Italian, California, and Mediterranean cuisines during a four course meal.
As standard with most places, we started with our basket of carbs and a beverage. Berkeley ordered an Old Fashioned and I had the Raspberry Margarita. The first three courses were the same for all. Tomato Bisque with roasted corn and mushrooms, a salad of mixed greens and sun dried tomatoes dressed with a basil cream, and a lime sorbet prior to the entree. Berkeley's entree was a short ribs dish and mine was pistachio cranberry roasted chicken.
Normally, I am not a fan of preset x-numbered course meals. The first few courses usually muddle the flavors of the entree. It is very rare that I truly enjoy the soup and salad option that are forced upon you without preference. This was one of those times.
Both the soup and salad were perfectly sized and perfectly seasoned. Also, they would have been great options to be served immediately before my entree. Instead of just hoping that the starting courses would not overpower the main entree, Cafe Roka offers a palate cleansing sorbet.
My chicken was moist and flavorful. The mix of pistachio and cranberries was unique and refreshing, while Berkeley's tender ribs had that familiar tang of wonderful BBQ. The sides for each dish varied and served as great complements for each separate entree. We finished our entrees a perfect contentment. We weren't overstuffed, nor we were starved for more. Although, I would have loved a to-go box of a half serving to eat the next day for lunch.
As we were gearing up to settle the bill, desert menus were handed out. The four of us thought we were passing that evening. Since were celebrating both Berkeley's upcoming birthday and our wedding, the chef insisted we enjoy a sampler of desserts on the house. They were small portions of larger desert offerings, embellished with a candle for Berke. It was a great end to the meal.
I hope we get to return some time as there are plenty of other dishes I would love to try. If you are down near the Arizona-Mexico border and are looking for some amazing food, look into trying Cafe Roka! But make sure you have reservation since it's a hoppin' little joint where even the bar seats are reserved most nights.