May Restaurant Festival, May 15-31, 2014
Olas Altas 380 OT/SS.
6-11pm Closed Sunday and June 7-July 26.
This is the time of the year! We have our first place to sample and enjoy.
Since 1995, chef/owner Andreas Rupprechter, wife Cecilia and chef Juan Carlos Palomera have served European and Austrian cuisine in a lovely Euro/Austrian-style bistro setting. This spot was awarded the 2012 5* Diamond Award from American Academy of Hospitality Sciences and recently the DIRONA, Distinguished Restaurants of North America. Dine inside the air-conditioned café-like upscale spot with white linen, outside in an open-air sidewalk area protected by wrought iron railings or a few doors down at their indoor/outdoor café whose menu features breakfast chilaquiles, luncheon sandwiches and full menu with the same fine desserts plus 20 specialty coffees.
Through the glass in the wooden doors, the passersby may as well be European. The hills in the distance are green with palm trees or is that snow on The Alps? Waiters are attired in formal black and white, soft music lilts through the air with the space designed with massive solid wooden columns and bar; this cannot be Puerto Vallarta, but blessedly it is.
Not only is the restaurant festival three course, three choice menu offered, ten starters and twelve main plates are available from the regular dinner menu, along with a choice of any dessert off the menu. This policy enables diners to sample many dishes, all under the festival menu and pricing.
Some visitors started with their Signature Cream of Red Cabbage Soup dolloped with potato dumpling with roast duck crust floating atop the purée. The red soup base was slightly sweet from lingonberry marmalade. Always a delight.
Duck Confit Spätzele was composed of very fresh pasta, slices of crispy duck and thin fried onion rings. The mixture was rich yet soothing. This dish would be perfection as a main course, too.
Bread soup, invented during difficult meatless times, is a cousin of the Italian version. Slivers of roasted garlic, rosemary, tarragon and cream blended into a creamy smooth tasty broth. State bread had been ground and incorporated.
Our attention turned to the main course, requiring a choice from so many temptations. Rahmschnitzel was comprised of sautéed pork loin escalopes with house-made noodles and a creamy mushroom sauce, one of the very delightful dishes created here.
Trout Fillet with white wine sauce, celery purée, topped with spinach and tomato-almond ragù. The pink trout was presented as very tender pieces with its distinct flavor. This fish is rarely seen on local menus, and here so very fresh. A celery purée was dolloped on one side with a white wine sauce laying beneath the composition.
Braised Rabbit has been avoided personally due to past experiences of many tiny bones in each bite. Here it is served boneless with pappardelle, macédoine de légumes (vegetable medley) and the intense rich sauce was Pinot Noir wine-based. Quality Reggiano Parmigiano was shaved over the entrée. Impressive, and again, an offering not often seen locally.
Beef Tenderloin with creamy Gorgonzola, vegetables, mushrooms and potato gratin was a thick, large tender beef filet cooked to order topped with the creamy flavor-characterized cheese sauce.
Two diners opted for the special Beef Stroganoff which was prepared at their Altruism Festival table a couple weeks ago: tender strips of beef in a creamy mushroom sauce.
All desserts from the regular menu were pondered knowing that the Austrians are among the world leaders in pastries and other desserts, the decision was very important and personal.
Warm Chocolate Gooey Cake with lemon verbena scented citrus and mint ice cream was a warm intense dark chocolate lava flowed from the cake upon cutting. The cake, dusted with powered sugar, was flanked by a cup of chocolate mint ice cream, sliced oranges and strawberries. Chocolate and mint are a match made in Heaven.
Combination of Austrian Strudel Pastry and Sacher Chocolate Cake is a great ‘beginners crash’ into fine desserts. One side of the long white plate holds a beautiful slice of strudel with flaky crust, a better one difficult to imagine. It is balanced by a very dark dense chocolate cake. The Sacher torte is one of the most famous Viennese culinary specialties.
Crème Brulée (burnt cream) was also beautiful, a French creation with a bottom layer of rich vanilla custard covered by a hard caramel crust. Here the result was near-perfection, creamy inside yet crisp and crinkly on top.
Note that Kaiser Maximilian is offering their special May Restaurant Festival menu through June 6, with vacation starting on June 7 through July 16. A dining group of friends and family may sample many enjoyable dishes at one seating.
2014 Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck’s Best:
Kindle e-book: www.amazon.com/dp/B004NEVX7I