By Kristin Díaz de Sandi
Asao translates to “comer” or to eat in Kumiai. Such a small word, with so much meaning, and more than fitting for the name of a restaurant. This beautiful restaurant is located in Tecate, and shares the property with their smaller restaurant called Bistro Med, and the up and coming Santuario Diegueño Hotel. The entire property, is absolutely gorgeous, and is so perfect for a small getaway. The hotel is expected to be fully accessible to the public within the next three months.
The walkway up to the restaurant is lined with olive trees, which are readily being picked and tossed into buckets. There was a nice breeze blowing, so the mid-90 degree weather did not even phase us. Upon entering the restaurant, my eyes didn’t know whether to be drawn to the right or the left. On the right is their beautiful open kitchen behind a huge glass window, and to the left the floor to ceiling glass windows lead out to the beautiful view, and outdoor seating. We met Chef Roberto Alcocer, who was about to present us with a tasting of the restaurant’s menu, and some of it’s most recent items.
The evening started off with an amuse bouche of a crostini topped with smoked oyster cream and sprouts. A wonderful crunch with a subtle smokiness and fresh sprouts.
The first course, was one of my favorites of the meal. Such a simple presentation of Avocado al vapor topped with a cold avocado ball rolled in dried beans. The wedge of avocado was in a warm tomato and basil broth. The textures of this dish were just phenomenal. Cold and warm together, and all of the flavors together actually reminded me of a Caprese salad, with the avocado and its texture very similar to that of fresh mozzarella.
The second course was their version of an ensalada de nopales. The nopales are cured in salt, which actually gives them a “cooked” flavor. That combined with minced onions, tomato, queso fresco, and a smear of the lemon puree, is so bright and bursting with flavor, and once again there are such wonderful textures.