An Epicurean Escape

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Cast your gaze on stunning ocean views and indulge your taste buds with authentic flavors at Javier’s

By Sharon Stello | Photos by Jody Tiongco

NBM_29_Dine_Javiers Kitchen_By Jody Tiongco-10

Stepping into Javier’s is like entering a resort on the Mexican coast, with its panoramic views of the Pacific and lush tropical landscaping. “We want to make you feel like you’re on a vacation in Mexico. … When you’re here, you’re taken away,” says Javier Sosa Jr., the owner’s son and general manager of the restaurant at Crystal Cove Shopping Center.

The Old World-meets-contemporary ambience is evident upon entering. Behind the bar, some of the bottles are displayed in a metal tree sculpture that has a skeleton keeping watch from one branch. The intriguing decor continues into the main dining room with punched metal light pendants, high ceilings and white stucco walls surrounding booths that open up to stunning vistas of the ocean just across the way. Candles flicker on dark wood tables alongside rich leather seats, and a mosaic of colored light filters through windows made of glass bottle tops and bottoms.

Take a seat in one of the many dining areas; whether it’s at the cantina, main dining room, one of two private rooms or the loggia, the dining experience is comparable to none.

The appetizing journey begins by sipping a signature margarita—try the refreshing cucumber or slightly spicy jalapeno—made from a curated collection of about 60 premium tequilas. Meanwhile, a basket of fresh chips is presented with salsas prepared from scratch, including a a smoky salsa verde made from roasted tomatoes and peppers.

Cucumber and jalapeno signature margaritas
Cucumber and jalapeno signature margaritas

Skilled chefs prepare all dishes with authentic recipes and fresh flavors in beautiful presentations. A perfect example is the “salpicon deshebrado,” a light salad made with shredded beef brisket, cabbage, tomato, red onion, chilies, radishes and avocado, dressed in only lime juice, olive oil and vinegar. “If you use good ingredients, you don’t want to mask them,” Javier says.

The restaurant uses only the highest quality meats and produce—mostly organic—and the sustainable seafood is brought in fresh every day. Perhaps the most popular plate is the Cabo Azul, a Maine lobster enchilada in a light, creamy pasilla pepper sauce served alongside a grilled chili relleno stuffed with shrimp and Dungeness crab, and a shrimp soft taco accompanied by refried black beans and white rice. Another dish, the Carne Tampiquena, also offers a taste of several favorites: a grilled USDA prime center-cut, 6-ounce New York steak, a chicken mole enchilada, a taquito, refried beans and guacamole. The meat is tender and the savory sauces leave you wishing for more.

The Cabo Azul seafood plate
The Cabo Azul seafood plate

Delectable ingredients translate to the dessert menu as the guava cheesecake makes it impossible to put the fork down. It pairs perfectly with a cup of house-blended coffee, which is smooth and flavorful—a fine finale to this culinary holiday that whisks diners away, if only for an hour. NBM

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