I started with El Pepino cocktail, consisting of tequila, cucumber, mint and lime. A great way to start the meal (see picture and more information in Friday's post). We ordered a sampling of appetizers to curb our hunger a bit. Surprisingly, my son's pick of Pigs in a Blanket was my favorite. It comes 3 to an order and is served with horseradish spiced Dijon mustard. Savory mini sausages wrapped in dough that is fluffy and light. It seems like a nostalgic walk back to the 70's, but this is an updated more modern version. We also had the very popular Ox Tongue Sliders with pickled green tomato and Dijon. The tongue was flavorful and well prepared and I especially liked the pickled tomato. The last appetizer was the Crispy Green Beans with sambol (Indonesian spice) aioli, basically, tempura green beans with aioli. I anticipated the aioli to be a little spicier, but its creamy smoothness was a nice match with the beans.
For entree, my son had the Rabbit & Dumplings with carrots, cipollini onions and sage dumplings. This was a very hearty, rich and earthy dish with generous portions of shredded rabbit throughout. The sage dumplings were a taste sensation. I ordered the Bavette (a cut from the sirloin, the area between the porterhouse and the hind leg) with bok choy, piquillo, burnt green onion and pink peppercorn. Although I ordered it medium-rare, it arrived rare, but I wasn't disturbed enough to go through the process of sending it back. The meat was smokey with balanced flavor, and the bok choy was a bright, crispy counterpoint. My husband had the Daily Fresh Sausage served on a baguette with Dijon, onions, french fries, and for an extra dollar, a side of house-made sauerkraut. The sausage was well seasoned and the 'kraut was nicely done; not too bitter. For dessert we split the Champagne Baba Cake served with chocolate sorbet, orange slices, a smear of chocolate on the bottom, lavender and hazelnuts. The lavender was not overwhelming and the chocolate, orange and hazelnut combination worked beautifully with the cake.
The vibe at Contigo is mellow and easy, almost like a casual dinner party in a friend's backyard. With a section near the front entrance for washer throwing, and a bar area to wait for tables, it is relaxed Southern hospitality at its best. On their website, Contigo states "Our goal is to offer the community a place to relax, commune, and enjoy great food." Mission accomplished. (Cathy)