There’s a reason the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is always popular with guests and diners. The luxury hotel experience is at its best at this iconic hotel, located in the heart of San Juan’s upscale Condado neighborhood.
In a recent tasting experience, Michelin-starred executive chef Juan José Cuevas and his culinary team lived up to their reputation by offering a five-star culinary treat to a group of diners.
Cuevas, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who has received numerous awards in Puerto Rico and beyond, surprised and delighted with top notch dishes and desserts, from tuna tartare canapes to grilled octopus served over coconut polenta, spinach , pine nuts and raisins; and my favorite: porterhouse steak, Tatemada Verde sauce, fried, creamed potatoes and tortillas. He pointed out that many ingredients are bred and grown locally, to ensure freshness and top quality.
Based on the “oohs and ahhs” of the other diners around me, “arroz de la montaña” seems to be a local favorite: a paella criolla with longaniza spanish sausage, black pudding, sofrito and garbanzos.
Other notable dishes included Ora King salmon confit with organic farro, pumpkin, Hana Donko Shiitake mushrooms and red curry juice; aguachile scallops with avocado, serrano pepper and red onions; and sirloin steak with house sauces, refrito beans, onions, cilantro, lime and tortillas.
And, of course, for the final touch, the desserts! Make sure to save room for dessert, known as ‘Vanderbilt’s Finest’, as they are to die for.
The culinary team at Condado Vanderbilt includes Carol Reyes, sous chef since 2012 and responsible for the meat and fish stations at Restaurant 1919; Alejandro Alicea Rodríguez, from Ola Ocean Front Bistro; José Álvarez Collazo, from Tacos & Tequila; Emmanuel Oliveras, Banquet Chef, and Pastry Chef Héctor Llompart.