Sometimes couples don't get along and during a little spat with my hubby a couple of weeks ago I did something I knew would really make him mad, I went to a great restaurant without him. I hit up Mastro's Ocean Club, the UFO shaped eatery located in the new Crystal's mall at City Center. A friend on Yelp had written a very positive review, and others had confirmed, so I thought I would try it out. As I was by myself, it was difficult to be frugal, but I did a fairly good job at sifting through the menu and picking a few options that were completely satisfying and didn't break the bank.
It was tempting to fill up on the bread basket filled with pretzel and rye bread sticks, Parmesan crackers, and teardrop sourdough boules, but I restrained myself and saved room for a half order of the Spicy Mambo Salad ($7.99) and the Sauteed Shrimp appetizer ($18.95, pictured above). Everything at Mastro's is fairly expensive, so these dishes were a great way to test their quality without spending a ton. The Spicy Mambo Salad was essentially a Caesar salad with horseradish in the dressing, and being a huge fan of horseradish, I very much enjoyed it. I always ask for light dressing (or dressing on the side) in less expensive restaurants because more expensive restaurants generally know how to dress a salad properly, and Mastro's was no exception. If anything, the salad bordered on verge of being under-dressed, so if you are a fan of heavy salad dressing, I would ask for extra. The sauteed shrimp were nothing less than wonderful, and hit the spot for my seafood craving. The huge shrimp were cooked just right (see tip) and served over a broth that tasted like a lobster bisque reduction rich with butter. The cheesy garlic bread croutons absorbed this liquid on one end, but remained crunchy at the other, providing some textural contrast. It was fun to dip all the different kinds of bread from the basket in the sauce as well to see how they each paired differently. Overall it was a really successful dish, and because the shrimp were so plump and the sauce so rich, it was certainly enough for my entree. One item that I might have tried as a side had I been with someone, however, was the lobster mashed potatoes - they looked fantastic. I wasn't too disheartened by not getting them, as I still had a terrific meal that was plenty filling.
I wanted to order their signature butter cake dessert, but because it was $14 and I was full by that point, I decided to pass. I'm sure it's enough for two to three people so maybe next time I go and I'm not by myself I'll splurge and get it. Besides, I didn't need the sugar as I walked away with sweet revenge. Ian was really sad he missed the experience and promised never to upset me again (well, at least the first part of that sentence is true!).
Tip: To tell if a shrimp is cooked well before even cutting into it, follow this rule of thumb: If it is shaped like a "u," as in a raw shrimp, it is undercooked. If it is shaped like a "c," that means it is cooked, and if it is curled up to the point of looking like an "o," than sadly, it is overcooked.
Tonight's Food Ratings:
Spicy Mambo Salad: 8
Sauteed Shrimp Appetizer: 9.5
Restaurant Rating: 9
WOULD I GO BACK? YES, FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION