Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - At Casa Isabel's Madison South, Executive Chef Lucas de Jesús Gonzales presents creative cuisine beautifully presented. Add to this top-notch service, gorgeous views, and their special Vallarta Restaurant Week menu, and you'll enjoy an evening that is as memorable as it is unique.
Isabel Manore operates this stylish restaurant on the top floor of her boutique hotel, which sports a gorgeous panoramic view from Playa Los Muertos through El Centro to Marina Vallarta and the airport, all the way up to Punta de Mita. On clear to partly cloudy days and at sunset, you can see Las Marietas Islands from the restaurant's terrace. This night they were visible, long slivers of blue-silver on the horizon.
Executive Chef Lucas de Jesús Gonzales is well-trained and compatible to this fine setting desiring to offer guests a fine meal in addition to the wide reaching vistas. Fast Eddie manages the locale all summer while Isabel is up north. He is gregarious, affable and friendly, stopping by each table and assuring diners he will correct any problem which may arise. A sign of a true professional and gentleman.
As with most participants of Vallarta Restaurant Week 2011, Madison South's special menu had three choices for three courses:
Soup of the Day: Cream of Carrot soup. It looked delicious, but no one in our party ordered it.
Cesar Salad: Light dressing tossed with three long whole spears of romaine lettuce, unchopped, the highlight being a Parmesan cracker, salty, cheesy and crisp. One diner said he could eat a whole bag of them as a snack. A crisp crouton was on the side, covered with melted grated Parmesan.
Crêpes Vallarta: Very thin housemade pancakes stuffed with Huitlacoche (black corn fungus) garlic and cilantro, then mozzarella cheese was shredded on top and melted before serving. Underneath was a creamy light sauce. Delicate and delicious. A very thin fresh tomato sauce was added for a small accent.
For the main course, we enjoyed:
BBQ Ribs: Grilled pork ribs with housemade BBQ sauce. Tangy but not overly so, sweet to the correct degree. Madison South is known for their ribs, and with one taste one can understand why. The meat is tender and moist. The overlapping placement of the ribs was an artistic picture.
Catch of the Day: A delicious-looking Corvina (sea bass) was spotted at the next table, convincing one member of our group that it was the entree to order. The fillet was very large, thick, white and perfectly moist. It has the texture to hold up to many productions, yet is mild in flavor allowing it to work with many seasonings and sauces.Three were offered this night and the guest opted for purée of mango with ajillo sauce, sporting a hint of heat but fruity and sweet from the ripe mango. It lay below the fish, which was nestled on mashed potatoes and spinach. Crisply fried and delicious threads of sweet potato garnished the dish. A large thick slice of plantain was narrow cut, deep-fried and speared into the potatoes.
Coconut Shrimp: Five jumbo shrimp were encrusted with a crunchy coconut-pistachio-almond mixture. They were skewered and arranged around the dish like the supports of a teepee. At the top, a thick slice of star fruit was employed as a holder to keep all the stakes in place. Underneath was a pool of creamy rich pineapple and coconut sauce. Cameras snapped all three entrées before anyone could take the first bite.
All of the artistically presented main courses were accented by julienned carrot, zucchini and red cabbage.
Time for sweets brought:
Cheesecake: The slice was plated on a checkerboard design made of chocolate syrup, with strawberry and mango coulis in squares as attractive accents and flavorings.
Flan Napolitano: Served with a touch of Kahlua, the flan was creamy and soft. Very tasty, with the liqueur predominant.
Profiteroles: Duo of puff pastries filled with vanilla and strawberry ice cream, one in each ball. Hot chocolate was drizzled all over the pastries and plate. At the end of the evening, there was nothing left on the plate except for a couple sprinkles of sauce.
All in all, our dining experience at Madison South was a very special evening with impressive food presentation, professional service, spectacular views and an elegant atmosphere - all of the essential ingredients for a "night on the town" that is as memorable as it is unique.
Located at 483 Del Bosque in Puerto Vallarta's Colonia Alta Vista, the Casa Isabel Madison South Bar & Grill is open for breakfast from 10 am to 1 pm, for appetizers and sandwiches from noon until 5 pm and for dinner from 6 pm until 10 pm. For more information or to make your reservations, call (322) 222-1451 ext. 444 or visit CasaIsabelPV.com.
The author was supplied one choice in each of the 3 courses on the special Restaurant Week menu and this review is in no way connected to his independent restaurant guide, "Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck's Best", where write-ups receive no compensation.
Restaurant Week 2011 continues through May 31st at some of the most recognized restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. For a list of participating restaurants and Restaurant Week 2011 reviews click HERE.