As a kid, my mom used to regale me with tales of how good the food at Mario’s was. She’d tell me about the thick steaks and the memorable Caesar’s salad. So when second generation owner Fil Benitez invited us over for dinner, can you imagine how excited I was?
When I got to the event, a couple of bloggers were milling about already. Some appetizers were already spread out on the buffet table so I went to investigate. The thing that immediately caught my eye was the large platter of Oysters Rockefeller. It was one of their most famous dishes, I was told so despite my misgivings about eating shellfish that particular evening, I threw caution to the wind and tried it.
And it was a good thing I did at least try it because it was delicious. Creamy and savory, it was rich without a hint of fishiness. It’s the perfect way to start your meal because it would definitely get your appetite going. Of course, you’ll have to exercise restraint as well because it can just as easily fill you up.
Aside from the oysters, we also had some delicious shrimp cooked with tomatoes and sausages (forgive me, I wasn’t able to take much notes that evening),
And some delightful mushrooms cooked in an assortment of flavorful herbs that complemented the mushroom’s earthiness nicely.
For the salad course, we were served their famous Caesar’s Salad, served right at your tableside. Caesar’s salad is one salad that should always be prepared, or at least dressed fresh, otherwise, the salt content of the dressing will make it all watery and kill the fresh greens. The secret to their salad? Fil kidded us that it was the varnish of their wooden bowls. Maybe there’s truth to that as a lot of chefs recommend preparing Caesar’s salad in wooden bowls rubbed with fresh garlic. 😛
Instead of the traditional romaine, their Caesar’s salad was a mix of romaine and iceberg, croutons, fine bacon bits and parmesan. I was a bit surprised at being served iceberg initially, but my misgivings where forgotten as I took a bit because it was a good salad. The dressing’s flavor was spot on, with a hint of creaminess that I like. (Even my Baby Treeson Rainy agrees!)
We went a la Carte for our entrees. Because I have been brainwashed by my mom, I knew I had to try their steak. I choose their Filet Mignon—how can you go wrong with beef AND BACON?! Cooked medium rare as I instructed, it was tender and flavorful, with a rosy pinkness in the center. Just the way I like my steak. The bacon’s crisp texture and sharp saltiness was a pleasant companion to the beef. A marriage made in heaven, really.