Last night we went to Sra. Martinez in Miami’s design district, not having such high expectations for it considering some of its mediocre reviews. But we were wrong… It was delicious. Like Zuma, Sra. Martinez is a tapas-styled restaurant where you order many small plates to share with the table. Last night, we ordered many things: seafood ceviche, tuna tartare, sautéed kale, croquets, butifarra, squid ink risotto, and another butifarra.
So, first came the seafood ceviche which was light and fresh. The ceviche had rock shrimps, scallops, octopus, and whitefish. It also had a good amount of lime juice which added to its freshness. If you’ve ever had conch salad, there is a similarity between the two. I’ll tell a quick story about conch salad before I continue: I was in the Bahamas with my dad about four years ago and we decided to explore a bit outside our resort (Atlantis). We left Atlantis and crossed a bridge and when we got to the other side, we noticed a big area under the bridge with fishermen cutting up fish at their stands where they made the best, most fresh conch salad I have ever had. It was one of my most memorable food experiences.
Next, we had tuna tartare, which was really tasty… It was light and savory with a sort of strong, yet smooth after-taste. It had avocado, scallion, and a creamy moyonnaise-based sauce as well as a pile of homemade potato chips on the side. I noticed that a lot of restaurants that serve tuna tartar always have an avocado base under the tuna. I find this addition to the regular tuna tartare to be really nice, as it adds a creamy texture to the tuna. The homemade potato chips, put together with the tuna, gave it a nice crunch.
After the tuna, we had a small dish of sautéed kale which was no big deal, however I do have a great kale recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. The recipe is kale chips that are baked to a light crisp with a sort of melt in your mouth texture.
Following the kale, we had croquets that were rich and creamy and so addicting to gobble down. Inside was manchego cheese and some type of chili powder, placed on a sweet fig marmalade. They were really warm and did not have that cheap, stringy cheese inside that one can imagine in mozzarella sticks, but more of a soft, refined texture inside. The fig marmalade went perfectly with the croquets because of the little amount of spice from the chili powder.
Next, the butifarra came, which was my favorite. Butifarra is duck and foie gras sausage with white gigante beans, and a port sauce. In a way, it tasted like cassoulet from Carcassonne (probably the duck and beans), but I liked the sauce in this much more. I can’t explain how delicious the sausage was with the wine sauce and how everything came together perfectly. The sausage was cooked just right with a tough bite on the outside and a firm, tender texture on the inside. The beans were huge and tasted great with the sausage and sauce.
After that came the squid ink risotto which was excellent. It had crispy calamari scattered on top that went perfectly with the risotto, as well as chimichurri and a light aioli sauce.The squid ink sauce brought a taste of the sea into the dish, and the aioli was fresh and flavorful. The only thing I disliked about this dish was that there was so much squid ink that it overpowered everything else, yet if you took a small amount of the risotto and had it with some fried calamari, everything evened out so that the risotto was not too rich. But, overall, the risotto was really flavorful and tasty.
Finally we had our last dish, a paella. The paella had bomba rice, shrimp, whitefish, chorizo, calamari, peas, and piquillos (a type of sweet pepper grown in Spain). On top was a dollop of crème fraîche and a wedge of lime ready to be squeezed. My family and I have always loved paella and we like to either make or buy a big paella and have that for a meal. Sometimes, when my mom comes home from work, she picks up a paella from La Fonda Del Sol, which is located “steps away from Grand Central Station.” They make great, massive paellas that are packed with “scrumptious” delicacies.