Cocina Abierta is one of the most popular restaurants in the San Juan/Metro Area… they have a Facebook Page and very loyal following. It’s been open for little over a year now and it was last week the first time I was able to eat there.
Martin Louzao, an Argentinian residing in Puerto Rico for a few years now, is the chef/owner of Cocina Abierta and he happens to be my neighbor too. I remember him arriving in his apartment with huge bags from Marshalls telling me all this new equipment was for the new restaurant he was opening soon, that I should visit him to try his food. If the food he makes tastes as good as the smells that came out of his apartment… this was going to be a delicious experience indeed.
It has taken me over a year to visit him because every time I had tried to eat there, the place was full. The concept… an open kitchen where all the guests can see the cooks at work. The menu, super dynamic… they work off what’s seasonal and fresh. They have a few favorites on the menu, but it changes constantly according to the chef’s whimsy and inspiration.
Last week I needed to have a working lunch meeting and decided I wanted to try if Cocina Abierta was available. They now have a lunch menu and some of the options caught my eye. This is what I had:
Arugula Salad with dates, goat cheese, parmesan flakes, almonds in a balsamic vinaigrette. Proscuitto not needed at all.
Feta and Spinach Ravioli with grated fresh tomato and Genovese pesto
I debated if I should have had the Pumpkin Risotto with parmesan cheese, onion marmalade and petit pois, which can be requested to be made with vegetable stock for vegetarians like me, but decided the ravioli seemed lighter fare for lunch.
The Arugula salad was one of the most delicious salads I’ve had in a long time. It’s extremely memorable and worthy of recommendations. I almost licked the plate clean. I divided one salad with my friend Angie, but the next time, I will order one just for myself. It’s that good… just as good as Bobby Flay’s Gala Apple salad and that’s a lot said right there.
The ravioli were pillowy and light. And the sauce was more like a dressing than a sauce per se. A little fresh tomato, very fruity olive oil and a dab of pesto atop each ravioli. The portion size was healthy, but I could have eaten a few more, certainly. Out of gluttony, of course.
The next time, I will try to order their Eggplant Ravioli with pine nuts. They were not available the day I visited… good, so I have something else to look forward to on my next visit.
Cocina Abierta is certainly not a vegetarian restaurant, but they make vegetarians feel welcome and understood. Thanks Martin for a wonderful lunch and hope to be able to visit sometime soon to taste some of your wonderful and delicious creations.