Just got back from a trip to San Sebastian not so long ago and decided to go to Ondo's for pintxos in Cherry Creek not once, but twice, this weekend to relive it. Actually, two different friends happened to suggest going there for dinner, and how could we refuse.
Chefs Deicy and Curt Steinbecker trained and lived in San Sebastian before opening Ondo's. We've been here before to sit at the bar for happy hour. But last weekend, we tried some new stuff.
Friday night, we started with a strawberry salad with lettuce, walnuts, parmesan arranged in a neat pile, with peach vinaigrette throughout and thin strawberry slices lined up along the side and with a shrimp salad with avocado and cherry tomatoes. The shrimp and avocado combination was cool and refreshing for a summer night. Tasty. Moving on, we tried the Cordero Braseado, a cube of braised leg of lamb that's so soft it crumbles once your fork touches it. It comes with a thin layer of potato puree and a jello-like cube of berry sauce that sets of the lamb nicely. We also got the mussels in white wine sauce. A said the sauce was the best part of the mussel dish. Pretty standard preparation. But the best part was dessert. The deconstructed pina colada (pineapple taste with lots of rum) used to be A's favorite til he tried the bread pudding, which our friendly waiter James recommended over the rice pudding (which tastes good too. I've had it before.) But James was right on the bread pudding: warm, with ice cream, a cinnamon flavor, and they do something creme brulee-ish to the top so it's got a carmelized crisp on top. Delicious!
Saturday night, was there with a former Ondo's cook, so we got nice treatment. We got to taste some croquettes with a creamy veggie filling for the apertivo. The Chorizo y Datiles is always tasty: one slice of bread topped with two slices of chorizo paired with sweet dates and mascarpone spread. Patatas bravas (fried potatoes with tangy picante sauce) here come with the sauce in a bowl, rather than on top of the potatoes, which are cut into small triangle wedges and double fried. This time, the wedges were smaller, so the potatoes were a little crunchier. The solomillo is usually amazingly tender and done rare to medium rare. It was a little more cooked than that this time. Comes with blue cheese sauce over the beef, thin layer of potato puree and a sweet red pepper. A good dish. We also had olives stuffed with salmon. MC said she could taste the salmon but not see it. I could see it but couldn't taste it. Anyway, we also got the langostios: shrimp with a tasty mix of garlic, tomato, cognac. Lovely. We would've stuck around to try a dessert, but the restaurant was getting busy, so we moved along.
The atmosphere here is interesting. From looking at the place and its ground-level patio with a waterfall, you'd think it'd be very upscale, but you can see customers dressed up here or dressed down. The staff wears black shirts with jeans. The bar, which is open to the rest of the restaurant, plays sports on a flat-screen TV. There's also free parking behind the building, which is nice in Cherry Creek.
Haven't tried the foie terrine with white chocolate yet. Next time ...