-4 Snaps! Strongly recommended
Mortar and Pestle is a tasty addition to the Seminole Heights food scene. It's an oddly conceived establishment, like it doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up. It's a restaurant, a pharmacy (thus the Mortar and Pestle moniker) and a coffee shop replete with 16 hour cold drip contraptions trapped behind the check-in desk. Being such, it is situated in Seminole Heights where unique dining concepts have been successfully incubated, so it may catch on.
Food wise there's an artistic flare to the flavor palettes which are fresh, broad, and well thought out. The subtle use of foams, gels, and fruit fluids are evidence of the intricate detail put into each dish. Other components like gelato make their appearance in non-traditional places. I had the Sous Vide Pork Belly ($24)- Allspice and ginger pan seared pork belly, curry calabaza squash puree, spinach foam, spinach fluid gel, Chanterelle mushrooms, and Broccoli Rabe. Bravo! The pork was seared to perfection and the accompanying vegetables made for a near perfect balance of texture and flavor.
Our table also ordered Five Spice Duck Breast ($23) and Pan Seared Wahoo, substituted for the menu listed Cobia ($23). Both were plated with a host of complex flavors nicely suited for one another. Dessert brought a couple more elaborate dishes including Ube Cake with Jim Beam infused egg yolk (think custard), vanilla cardamom, and passion fruit sorbet. We also had a Flourless Chocolate Bar which is self explanatory but with much more on the plate including coconut creme fraiche and hazelnut ice cream.
It has been panned by local food critics for being too complex or not on task. I like it. Mortar and Pestle is a def recommend!
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