Unsatisfactory Experience at Cilantro's in Cabo San Lucas,
May 31, 2014
Huntington Station, New Y
Earlier that night we called and made a reservation, during which we stated we were gluten free and were reassured they could accommodate. Upon our arrival we stood at the check-in desk for a few minutes before we were acknowledged. Once seated at our table right on the patio edge, and with a great view, we were served a basket of bread by a busboy. When the waiter came, we ordered our drinks, let him know we could not have the bread and shared the usual about our dietary needs, including giving him our now trusty Triumph Dining Card in Spanish. He reviewed it and handed it back to us, with a dismissive attitude, but did not remove the bread from the table. He said they had gluten free options available and left to place our drink orders. This first encounter should have been our warning...
Dish selection was relatively simple. If memory serves me well, the options were labeled as gluten free on the regular menu, but even if they were not, gluten free options were available and mentioned as such on the menu. After some back and forth questioning with the waiter, who seemed a bit 'not there' and left a few times to ask questions of the chef, we ordered several appetizers and two main dishes, with the assurance that each was gluten free without modifications. We ordered: Pacific Rim Stuffed Pepper, Octopus Salad, Asparagus Salad, Spicy Baja Seafood Soup, and Cilantro Style Sea Bass.
Overall, the food was unappetizing. Each item contained far too much oil, salt, and butter. It's the problem you often run into with upscale restaurants: They play with their food far too much, rather than emphasizing the natural flavor of fresh food. Mike suggested that they also attempted to 'Americanize' Mexican cuisine, making for a weird juxtaposition of flavors such as spicy fish with overly buttery mashed potatoes. We had to basically force ourselves to eat at least a little of each dish, and left a lot unfinished (something we hardly ever do). The leftovers remained in our fridge at the resort until the morning we left.
The Asparagus Salad was the most appealing dish, both to our eyes and our tongues. The Octopus Salad was just... startling. Personally, Mike and I don't consider a quarter of an Octopus and some vegetables to be a salad. We were turned off by the presentation, and the Octopus was cooked in such a way that it tasted of rubber. Another fault I find with upscale restaurants, presentation often trumps realistic habits of eating. Now, we've had octopus before and enjoyed it, so I know it wasn't just a matter of not liking octopus.
Throughout the meal we were pretty much ignored by our waiter, and felt rushed as items were brought out before we were done with the previous one. But, the red X of this meal was that the bread remained on the table despite several prompts that we would not be having it. So, overall, this experience was a big disappointment. The food, service, and prices just did not jive well to create a great experience at a top rated restaurant and although there were gluten free options, it was not many. While we left full, despite our better judgement to not eat the food, we were dissatisfied.
The only redeeming quality was the tranquility of the location. The salty air drifted in and the waves lapping at the beach below us as we watched the dark but busy port as the yachts and cruise ships docked for the night, reminding us that food isn't the only thing that can be satisfying.
Submitted by Celtic Celiac (www.Celtic-Celiac.Blogspot.com