by Special Guest Blogger BCD Mom
BCD Dad and I decided to celebrate my birthday at Ranazul (translation: blue frog), a tapas restaurant located in a newly developed area of town called Maple Lawn, about 10 minutes south of Columbia. I must say that we got a great parking place right in front of the restaurant, and BCD Dad did an expert job of parallel parking! The restaurant itself is very attractive, sort of South Beach/Art Deco decor, which reminded us of THEHotel in Las Vegas.
We got seated at a table for two, which was unfortunately a bit small. (We noticed that other diners with two in their party got larger tables, and we wished we had asked for a larger table. Next time!) Although we were not seated there, the bears mentioning that there was a large area in the restaurant with easy chairs which looked very comfy. The dinnerware was pretty, and was obviously specially made for the restaurant since it had the name Ranazul on it. We also liked the glassware - it was very unusual. The service was fine, which was a pleasant surprise since some of the write-ups I had read indicated that this was a problem. It was so good that one of the servers hung up my coat! It was a good meal, and we had a great time.
The menu had soups, salads, cold tapas, and main courses, but we opted to only order tapas. Ranazul had a very large wine list, and offered half-glasses. We were kind of sorry we didn't order any wine, but we ordered a few cocktails instead: a mojito for me, a Hendrick's martini for Dad. Then we went to town ordering food!
Dad'd Hendrick's Martini
First, the waiter brought good crusty bread, with warm olive oil with garlic in it.
Then we ordered cold and hot taoas. The cold tapas included:
- Salmon avocado sushi (actually it was sashimi)
- Olives stuffed with pequita peppers and anchovies
The salmon was very good, and served with an excellend wakame (seaweed) salad and some tasty avocado, but this wasn't really a traditional tapa, and we fett you could get the same thing at a sushi bar. The olives were also great, but $5 for 4 olives was a little steep!
Hot tapas included:
- Arepas with shrimp and crab
- Foie gras
- Patatas bravas
The arepas were terrific! The contrast of the crunchy corn cake with the seafood was great. The chef is obviously fond of butter, as the sauce on the seafood was extremely buttery and delicious. The foie gras also was extremely good (when isn't it??). It was very delicate and outstanding, and was served with a yummy buttery crouton. The potatoes, which were fried cubes, were served with two sauces: a spicy red sauce kind of like a salsa, and a flavored mayonnaise. Although the dish was not terribly exciting, it was still good (who doesn't love fried potatoes??).
But wait, we were not finished eating! We ordered a cheese plate, and we each had a glass of port to go with it. We took the waiter's recommendation on which port to order, which was kind of expensive at $12 a glass, but I must admit it was good. The cheese plate was unfortunately not at room temperature, but the cheeses themselves (a morbiere and a bleu) were good. The cheese plate was served with grapes, pears, and sweet baby figs, but Dad found the fruit disappointing.
Then we moved onto coffee and espresso, which was fine. I was sorry I was too full from the cheese plate to order dessert, but I plan to go back, and I will definitely try one of their great-sounding desserts!
All in all, it was a fun evening, and a good first birthday dinner for me. Why a first, you ask? Because we have not yet had our traditional joint Mom/Xani blowout birthday dinner which may be in Baltimore, or possibly NYC!
Happy (birthday) eating,
BCD Mom (aka Janice)
Note from the BCD Girls: Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you and we can't wait for the big birthday dinner extravaganza!