Ariete was created by Chef/Owner Michael Beltran to combine his Cuban heritage with French technique. It was awarded one Michelin Star in 2022. They offer 2 tasting menus with optional wine pairing or an a la carte menu. It’s a small place with very low lighting, small tables and a patio. A bar counter is in the main dining room. Music was in the background and the kitchen is open to both dining rooms. Staff was super friendly and helpful. We opted to try one of their signature a la carte dishes rather than the tasting. The duck dinner is for 2 and involves a press brought to the table where parts of the duck are made into a sauce tableside. It’s a fun show with a fabulous result. The order comes with a number of side dishes also. I give this place high recommendations but be prepared for the dim lights.
We enjoyed a Negroni cocktail while considering our order. The amuse-bouche was a tart filled with root vegetables topped with onion powder. The filling was very tasty but the shell had been affected by the humidity of the area and was not perfectly crisp. It tasted wonderful regardless.
Maine Scallop was raw with green strawberries, Thai basil and strawberry consomme. The mild scallop was well complimented by the salty and tart green strawberries. The red strawberries were sliced thin and sweet. It was very nice.
A house-made brioche roll was served with a plantain butter. The butter was on the sweet side but the roll needed the help – it was just okay.
Wood-grilled oysters are in a bone marrow butter with chives and charred lime. They were fabulous. We should have gotten a dozen instead of half. They were marvelous and well-prepared. The bone marrow gave the oysters a richness that was amazing. I didn’t touch the charred lime, I didn’t want to upset the perfect balance of the oysters as presented.
Canard a la Presse is a Rohan duck for two. A 14-day dry aged duck breast was served with pistachio dukkah, roasted calabaza duck tamal, wild mushroom and foie gravy, duck fricassée pastelitos and ariete salad. They brought the duck breast out prior to the press being brought to the table. The breast was sliced in the kitchen and the sauce was prepared tableside. The press compacts the leftover bits of duck into a broth that is added to some broth with some jam and boiled down to a thicker, stickier sauce. It was richly flavored and really enhanced the tender and perfectly cooked duck. They only prepare limited quantities, so get there early to claim one.
The ariete salad was made with lettuce leaves only and a mild vinaigrette. My only complaint would be the size of the leaves but they were so very tasty and great to have to go with the rich duck.
The Calabaza duck tamal was really hard to photograph – it was so dark. But oh my, what wonderful corn flavor was hidden in that darkness. It was delicious.
The duck fricassee pastelitos were a flakey pasty with duck filling. The delicious pastry was lightly stuffed and the overall result was scrumptious. There was a touch of tomato sauce on the duck inside.
The Cigar was a dessert with a Manjari shell filled with gianduja mousse beside hazelnut praline topped with espresso ice cream. It comes in a large impressive wooden box. The chocolate filling and shell were both lovely but I almost think I preferred the ice cream and hazelnut praline below. It was a good sweet end to the meal.
Last treats with the check were some passion fruit jellies coated with sugar. They were fine.