Restaurante 040 is located in the basement of a hotel where you have to ring for entry but eating there will grant you entry into the ‘speak-easy’ on the rooftop. The medium sized place had a fairly dressy crowd with background music playing and lots of white birds hanging from the ceiling in addition to wine glass racks. As you enter the restaurant there is a bar from which we ordered martinis listed on their “classics” menu. From there communication broke down. We agreed to their 12 course tasting menu only system, ordered a bottle of wine for dinner, stated no allergies and then were left alone as we watched all the other tables start their menu. We flagged down the waiter and said we were ready for the wine and to start the menu and still nothing happened till they brought the wrong bottle of wine.
It was an hour before any food appeared and overall I’d say it was not worth the wait. The food spends more time on appearance than taste, and it really succeeds on the ‘pretty’ factor but too often the textures were just mush. Another caution if you decide to go is to eat a good lunch as the food is very light and sparse.
The first course was a dumpling stuffed with pork rib and egg yolk and a cup of smoked broth with seafood and chicken. The broth was indeed smoky but otherwise bland. The dumpling was on the salty side but nicely savory.
Fried banana was stuffed with seafood ceviche and guacamole. It was also salty and a bit of a mish-mash of tastes. No one flavor stood out but it was reasonably good.
Two pieces of faux sushi were actually tuna with saffron/garlic risotto and beef with parmesan, blue cheese and apple risotto. Both again were salty and mushy but fine.
A turnip was marinated with beet juice and stuffed with sea bass and tomato risotto. It was a little spicy with raw chunks of sea bass and topped with crunchy rice. It was okay but 3 courses of risotto seemed like overkill.
Crab and coconut from Thailand were stuffed into a cream puff like pastry. The crab was good and blended well with the fish eggs on top. There was a bit of spice to it and the pastry was nice. It was nice.
An egg shell was stuffed with octopus, bean foam and something pickled. It was salty and had something crunchy inside. It was okay but by now I’m really ready for texture beyond baby food.
A cuttlefish ravioli with bean, tomato, chutney and pickled onion was a stacked option where the parts didn’t meld at all with each other. Guacamole was used to stick the 2 portions together but it was tasteless. The dough was heavy and gummy and the bean portion was too greasy.
A caramelized tomato was stuffed with whitefish and served beside melted lettuce with capers. The tomato was really tough and the whitefish so overcooked it was stinky. If you could get a piece of tomato separated from the fish it was good mixed with the lettuce goo.
Roasted potato was stuffed with beef tartar and cilantro for the next course. The potato was tough and that was an issue as with other courses because they tended to provide inadequate utensils (no knives) to deal with the foods. It was another salty offering. That was the end of the 10 salty courses (their apt description).
The first dessert was canoli with margarita foam which was tasteless and soft. The other portion was a faux lemon which was truly tart.
The final dessert was donuts made of cheesecake with grapefruit vinegar. At last a crisp crust with the light cream cheese filling was a nice textural contrast. The dots on top were some kind of berry goo that was not that sweet and the whole thing screamed to have some butter included in the crust.