For many years we’ve enjoyed dining at the Cordua family of restaurants (Churrascos, Americas, Amazon Grill, and Arista). They each give you delicious Latin cuisine while showcasing different foods, ingredients, and techniques. Américas is probably our favorite of all the restaurants or would it be Churrascos? Okay we will call it a tie because they both are so damn good!
We recently got invited to try the new menu at Americas-River Oaks with Michael and David Cordua being our hosts for the evening. The father and son team are absolutely magnificent together, so this was a no-brainer! This is the first major menu change since the restaurant was opened in 2010. The new menu plays on and expands upon the strengths of the existing menu. They have also added a new daily Chef Tasting four-course dinner menu ($45 or $75 with Sommelier Pairings), and a streamlined lunch menu designed for the midday crowd.
Being the hosts with the most, Michael and David got the evening started with a little story telling and cocktails. We instantly felt their love and passion for the food and each other, which translates into a formula for success.
The lunch menu is literally a new concept for Americas. Like many other restaurants, their lunch menu was merely a discounted version of what you could get if you came for dinner. Now during lunch you can try something different like the new Fish or Carnitas Tacos or the Sandwich Cubano. They even offer a lunch trio where you can add your choice of soup or salad and a dessert (tres leches or alfajores). For only $4 more when added to your entree, this is a steal…for real.
We fell hard for Chef David Cordua’s spin on Paellas during The Woodlands Wine & Food Week Grand Tasting this year. Instead of the traditional socarrat (basically the delicious and flavored charred rice that sticks to the bottom of the paella pan) he is using Rice Krispies to add the extra crunch that is required to make a complete Paella. And these aren’t your typical Rice Krispies because that’s just not the Cordua way – they are blended with saffron, smoked paprika, crispy onions and tempura mushrooms! The Paella entrees are plenty for 2-3 people and four varieties are available. The Arroz Mariscado, which is their all seafood option, is topped off with a lobster tail. The enjoyment of digging around in the chorizo rice in search of hidden surprises was the fun part.
What truly stood out for us during our visit were the flights, trios and “expressions”. They are prefect for sharing and eliminate the worry of having to choose just one. The Empanada trio allows you to choose from three and with the Ceviche flight you get to indulge in all four. Tres Leches Expressions, which are new takes on the classic dessert, include Lucuma, “Fruity Pebbles” and Kettle Corn. Even when you have a choice you always end up with a favorite, right? Well, the velvety texture and the mild spice of the chorizo made the Black Bean & Chorizo Empanada the winner by unanimous vote. In addition to our flight of Ceviche, the Salmon version was so good we ordered a second round of it. Lastly, the mix of maple, sweet potato and caramel stole the show in the Lucuma Tres Leches.