Danisael Walker, Nasha Fondeur, Chef Juan J. Cuevas, Carol Reyes and Luis Simoes. (Courtesy 1919)

Locally grown and handcrafted products headline the new seasonal menu at 1919 restaurant at the Condado Vanderbilt hotel in Condado.

Once again, the executive chef of the restaurant, Juan José Cuevas, and his kitchen team, designed an interesting and tasty menu with fresh products provided by local artisans and farmers, such as: Frutos del Guacabo in Manatí (arugula, cilantro, cucumbers, mangoes, Spring Mix, Pak Choy); Alcor in Bayamón (sausage and pork-based products); Sebastián Sotomayor in San Sebastián (mushrooms); True Leaf Farm in Comerío (micro-cilantro, micro-mint, zucchini flowers, lemon balm); El Josco Bravo in Toa Alta (beets, carrots, kale, radishes, purslane); José M. Irizarry in Moca (chicken, fish); Eugenio Piñero in Rincón (fish); Jordan Martínez in Las Marías (tomatoes); Finca Vilella in Lares (radishes, cilantro, lemon balm, rosemary); and Mayra Hernández in San Juan (marmalades).

“Using local products is extremely important to me. Since I moved to Puerto Rico, I have proposed increasing the use of local ingredients every year, working directly with farmers to plant more consistently so they can integrate more variety,” Cuevas said.

The new menu, which is available all summer, offers diners the opportunity to enjoy a fixed menu of three plates, plus dessert, to be accompanied with wine, if preferred.

In fact, for those who wish to enjoy the menu with wine pairings, sommelier Luis A. Simoes created a special menu with suggestions of wines, following the precepts of classic pairings, in harmony with the flavors present in the food dishes. This is aimed at highlighting the culinary experience.

For the first plate, diners can choose from a half dozen options, including raw Hiramasa tuna with local radishes, yogurt, avocado, preserved lemon, sesame and Krystal caviar; or chayote salad with local goat cheese, cilantro, citrus, crispy local kale, basil and mint; among other options.

Among the options for the second plate include asparagus soup with Morel mushrooms and grilled quail; or Handkerchief Pasta with mussels, saffron, local arugula-pistachio pesto and pickled “ají dulce,” among other options.

Options for the main course include local “cartucho” with roasted “Fideos,” shrimp, sepia, sofrito, and shrimp- “ají amarillo” jus; or “cochinillio” served with local white beans, organic tomatoes and Parmesan, among others.

Dessert—the finishing touch of the culinary experience and elaborated by the well-known pastry chef Nasha Fondeur—offers options such as assorted ice cream and sorbet; a decadent Opera cake and the traditional cheese plate.

Local farmers said they were honored and thrilled to be producing high-quality products for such a renowned restaurant as 1919. Gabriel Mejías, of True Leaf Farm, in Comerío, said he feels satisfied and amazed by the process of transformation of their products, from harvest until they are prepared and presented to diners at the restaurant.

To see the full menu, which is currently available for dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays, log on to www.1919restaurant.com. For reservations, call 787-724-1919.

Reporter for The Weekly Journal. She is the Editor for Mírame and Bienestar Total magazines. She is a journalist with more than 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. Yaira holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

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