The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Monday, August 08, 2005
TUL's Take: Restaurant Week at Ceiba

Part Deux of The Upstate Life's adventures in Restaurant Week transpired last night over dinner at Ceiba, a relative of the fellow acclaimed DC Coast and Ten Penh establishments. The d├ęcor was very impressive when we entered, putting Smith & Wollensky's to shame, but I guess it's really apples and oranges between the two. Our table of eight was arranged very nicely with an overhanging light above us that had several lit candles atop of its fixture. Unlike S&W's, the entire menu was available to order from sans a few of the appetizers. The only upcharge that evening was for the Grilled "Cowboy Cut" Ribeye Churrasco, a reasonable $7 more than the rest of the vast selection of entrees.

For the appetizer, TUL ordered the Yucatan Shrimp "Cocktail" Ceviche. It was a delicious shrimp cocktail in a tangy, spicy Pico de Gallo accompanied with several tortilla chips for dipping. The presentation thus far was excellent, and it appeared Ceiba was not cutting any corners for the "common folk" during Restaurant Week. As for the main course, I was torn between getting the Crab Two Ways or the Blackened Yellowfin Tuna. I decided upon the latter and did not regret it whatsoever. Cooked at medium-rare, the tuna was incredibly tender and did not require the use of a knife. It was topped with a generously-sized coconut shrimp along with a side of fufu mash. The entire dish was extremely appetizing and a nice departure from the usual fare I tend to eat (you know, like Chipotle and Freschetta pizza). For dessert, The Upstate Life went for the Chocolate Cuban Coffee Cake. It was a warm, soft slice of cake (that in terms of texture more resembled a brownie) topped with a scoop of rich, coffee ice cream. It made a great closer for a terrific dinner.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with Ceiba. The atmosphere, ambiance, and service were all top-notch in The Upstate Life's personal opinion. And of course the food was excellent. The staff was very attentive, a pleasant surprise given that it was Restaurant Week and all. Then again, we're comparing that to our experience at Smith & Wollensky's, where the service diminished as the waiter realized we didn't want to order bottles upon bottles of wine. If you missed your chance this time around, TUL strongly advises that you give Ceiba a shot come January where you'll be able to afford their cuisine once more rather than wait for your Lean Cuisine to finish in the microwave while watching Jeopardy... ah yes, back to the norm!

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