While I was home in Florida, I went to a really spectacular restaurant called Selva Grill, which serves New Latin-style food. I had heard of it, but I somehow had never made it there. When we were trying to pick out a place to go for Rebecca’s birthday (see the cake I made her here), I suggested Selva. It was, honestly, the best meal I have had at a restaurant in the state of Florida…and I have eaten at many a restaurant there 😉
Now, I apologize for the photo quality as I only had my iPhone to capture pictures in the dimly lit restaurant (side note: I’m working on getting a new camera that is portable, but takes quality pictures in low light!). Normally, I wouldn’t ever think of posting photos s grainy and terrible, but the food was that good.
It was pretty amusing for my family, who is unused to going out to restaurants with someone who has to photograph all of their food, to deal with a pretty typical “dining with Rachael the food blogger” event. I was running around the table yelling at everyone to not touch their food until I had taken a picture of it, haha.
First, we were served some tasty rolls with truffle butter:
Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a pretty strong love affair with truffles (when not overused), so this was a pretty perfect start to the meal.
For appetizers, we ordered two ceviches, since that’s what they are pretty much known for.
Selva Wild Ceviche: Ceviche of fresh seasonal white Fish with fresh lime, onion, cilantro, Cusco corn & roasted camotes:
This one was okay, but it was actually the most underwhelming thing I had all night. It was overwhelmingly acidic, to the point that no other flavors could really be picked out. The Cusco corn was a really fun texture, though!
Pulpo al Olivo: Slices of Octopus, Peruvian black olive puree, salsa criolla, avocado & toasted bread:
This ceviche was the exact opposite of the other one—perfectly balanced in flavor, and just all around incredibly impressive! The creamy avocado proved an outstanding counterpoint to the briny olive puree, and the octopus was the perfect texture—not tough or chewy, just tender.
Because everyone in my family is not a huge ceviche fan (uhhh… what?), we also ordered Selva’s Crab Cake: Jumbo lump Blue Crab Cake with avocado aioli & corn salsa:
It was definitely a tasty crab cake, but it didn’t totally blow me away (my mother and brother would disagree and think it was the best crab cake, ever).
For dinner, I ordered Selva’s Famous Skirt Steak: Skirt Steak over sweet plantains, beet relish with selva’s chimichurri:
SO. FREAKING. AMAZING. This was easily the best skirt steak, of my life. It was sweet, spicy, perfectly acidic, and all-around fantastic. The plantains were soft, and almost candy-like. The fresh herbs and red onion on top were an excellent counterpoint to the tender steak and bright red, sweet sauce.
I also photographed everyone else’s meals (and sampled them all—all were exceedingly tasty).
My brother, Thomas, ordered the Traditional NY Strip: New York Strip, truffle parmesan fries & port demi:
It was excellent, but the thick-cut truffle fries were exceptionally amazing!
My dad got the Whole Fried Snapper: Whole fried Snapper, Cuban style black beans and rice & lime ginger sauce:
It was quite the presentation with the entire fish on the plate. It was also really delicious.
My mom ordered a special. I can’t recall exactly what it was, but I believe it was a snapper or grouper served with grilled prawns, a corn custard, and thick-cut yucca fries:
I was a big fan of the yucca, and the fish was cooked perfectly.
Rebecca ordered the Atun a la Parilla: Grilled Sushi Grade Ahi Tuna, pomegranate vinaigrette, jicama salsa, served with wok style vegetables:
The tuna was seared beautifully, but I found the real star to be the wok vegetables!
For dessert, we ordered the Pot of Mousse: Bittersweet and white chocolate mousses, dark chocolate “pot” cappuccino tartufo chocolate:
The bittersweet and white chocolate mousses were layered inside of a dark chocolate cup. The mousses were amazingly smooth and silky. We all loved it, but Thomas was especially a fan.
We also got the Selva Sundae: Coconut gelato & guava sorbet with slow roasted rum pineapple:
Oh gosh, this was totally right up my alley. I am a big fan of tropical flavors, so this was pretty much dessert perfection to me. Also, the “spoon” was a cookie!
They also brought out a special, birthday Pot of Mousse for Rebecca:
It was a phenomenal dinner! If you ever find yourself in downtown Sarasota, Florida, I would highly recommend Selva!
- Pulpo al Olivo
- Selva’s Famous Skirt Steak
- Truffle Parmesan Fries
- Selva Sundae