Last week Steve and I decided that we had lots of things to celebrate in our life, so we decided to try the dinner options at Yazmin's Café Madrid in Chelmsford. We both have been there for breakfast - Steve a good number of times - and were already aware that their first meal of the day was pretty darn good. Their French Toast is pretty famous in the area.
The waitress immediately brought bread to our table. It was nice and warm, was soft on the inside with a nice crust on the outside, and came with a dipper of olive oil and spices. Admittedly, we have a bread problem at restaurants and this particular bread did not do anything to help us out in breaking from that - it was so good! We asked for seconds so that we could partake in a bit more of the oil.
To start off the meal, we had their soup of the day which had a few different types of meat (beef, chicken, and pork), plantains, and vegetables. It was spiced with a Spanish flair (oddly enough) and was a great light way to start the meal. We did decide though that next time we would either sample off of their tapas menu to start OR save room for the amazing looking desserts. The soup was good, but with so many other cool things to try - opening up the space in the tummy for something more adventurous will be required.
Our entrees came with a "Spanish-style salad" which intrigued me a bit when I saw it on the menu. It was a shared salad so it came out in a big bowl with a set of tongs (which were a bit difficult to operate, but we managed) and their house dressing. The salad was a bed or romaine lettuce loaded up with roasted red peppers, red onions, sliced mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes. While the salad was different from most garden salads you'll get at a restaurant, it was the dressing that really made it. It was made up of balsamic vinegar, oil, honey, and a variety of spices (the waitress said "...and some spices, I'm not really sure what kinds they put in there"). It was a great compliment to the variety of vegetables in the salad.
Then came the main course: dinner! Having seen some other tables' food come out while we were listening to the live music and having dinner conversation, I was looking forward to the delivery of the meal. I had ordered the Pollo Loco, which is described as "Pan seared chicken medallions and large shrimp mixed in a Manchego and goat cheese sauce, served with yellow rice". The smell when this thing hit the table was extremely appetizing. I first took a bite of one of the vegetables to get a flavor of the sauce; the spices were perfectly balanced and the broth had picked up the flavor of the shrimp. The cheeses were subtle and seemed like they were mostly there to make it a creamy sauce, but it was definitely the sauce that made the dish. The chicken and shrimp were perfectly cooked, and the rice was pretty ordinary - but not at all dry, which makes a huge difference!
Steve ordered the Premium Mambo which the menu says is "Cuban roasted pork or chicken served with white rice, black beans, and sweet plantains". He decided on this one with the pork after asking the waitress what he should get between that or the Gambas Tropicana, her recommendation to get it with the pork, and also because it came with sweet plantains. He's kind of a sucker for those tasty little slices of yum. He said it was pretty good, and I did manage to get a taste of his pork in exchange for a shrimp from my meal. The waitress had said it was slow roasted; what she didn't mention were the spices that were rubbed on it. When I took a bite the first thing that happened was an explosion of spice heaven in my mouth, and then I realized that the pork was nice and moist - the slow roasting had not at all dried it out. I decided next time we go I might try that dish with the chicken.
Unfortunately because our meals were so good we cleaned our plates and had no room for dessert. Fortunately their dessert menu was extensive and attractive enough that we may put this place on the list of places we could just go for dessert and coffee sometime. I was glad to see that the dinner menu did not disappoint; we would definitely go back here for a date night if the occasion arose. If you're in the Chelmsford area - be sure to swing by and give this place a chance to fill your appetite. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
**Photos by Steve Athanas and his iPhone. Decent quality for a phone camera, huh?