Our group of 8 sat in the bar area and tried a variety of the overproof rum punches and rum-centric cocktails. The first drink I had, an overproof punch, was The Commodore. It consists of El Dorado Demerara 5 year rum, V.S.O.P. Cognac, Lustau East India Solera Sherry, caramelized black tea, fresh lemon juice and lemon oleo-saccharum. It had a mellow flavor that was a combination of sweet and mild spice, with a fine layer of sherry note on top. I enjoyed it immensely and would have ordered another, but I was curious about the mojito that seemed to be a favorite of the table. The Mojito is Flor de Caña Ron extra dry, lime, mint, cane sugar, seltzer with a Lemon Hart 151 float. This drink was well balanced and not overly sweet, making it refreshing and easy sipping. A friend enjoyed the Serpent's Cane, Clement Creole Shrubb, Ancho Reyes Liqueur, Amargo Vallet, lime, spiced tamarind, smoked black salt and tajin chili rim. The sip I had was just right. A perfect drink for someone who likes a little extra spice.
We ordered a sampling of Caribbean street food items (appetizer size portions) and the ceviches were some of our favorites. The Peruvian Snapper Ceviche with leche de tigre (a citrus based marinade of fish juice, chilies and onions), aji amarillo (yellow chili also known as pappadew), corn nuts, sour orange and sweet potato was a hit. We also loved the Nepali Death Tuna Ceviche with passionfruit, salted cashews, candied habanero syrup, Thai basil and Lemon Hart 151. The ceviches are served with plantain chips contained in tidy paper sacks. Both ceviches were fresh and delicious. If I had to choose one, perhaps I would pick the tuna, mainly because of the candied habanero syrup and the rum addition. The Meat Empanadas (fish and vegetable also available) were flaky and puffy on the outside, tender with savory meat filling on the inside. There are 5 empanadas to an order, so this is a good one for sharing. We also ordered the Cacahuates, which are fried peanuts in shell served warm, tossed with chile pequin and dried mango powder. I never got a taste of this item since they were finished quickly, but was assured they were quite good. We were very happy with the thick, hearty strips of Yucca Fries served with red and green mojo sauce. These were very tender and the mojo adds bright flavor. The Jerk Chicken, citrus brined and grilled over pimento wood, served with radish salad, was another favorite. It was not as easy to share, but worth the effort. The Conch and Calaloo, fried conch hushpuppies served with curried greens, coconut, tamarind and citrus, were well prepared, but the flavor of the conch didn't resonate for most of us. For dessert we tried the Churros, fried in peanut oil, tossed in cinnamon sugar and served with Cuban cafe (coffee) chocolate sauce. Crispy, sweet, with an added kick from the sauce, the churros were an elevated ending to the meal.
Reservations are suggested for parties of 7 or more, especially on the weekends. The place was hopping on the Saturday night we visited, but our server did his utmost to attend to us and brought out drinks and dishes as quickly as possible. The craft cocktails here take a little extra time, but your patience will be rewarded. Overall we had a wonderful experience save for the host, who seemed like she woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Happy Hour is Tuesday-Friday, 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., featuring $5 punch, jerk chicken and ceviche, as well as $6 daiquiris, mojitos & Cuba libres. I am looking forward to a return visit to try more entrees and maybe splurge on the lobster ceviche. (Cathy)
Note: Pleasant Storage Room has since closed. It has been renamed Isla and is under new ownership/management (from the owners of Peche).