There’s guacamole and then there’s guacamole. And then there’s that green mash they sell in supermarkets in a plastic bag. What is that stuff anyway, soylent green maybe?
But seriously, guac is good stuff and you can make it many ways, it’s pretty hard to mess up. Mash some avocados, chopped tomato, onions (I like a little garlic in mine) some lime juice so it doesn’t turn brown. Guacamole is pretty much guacamole.
But now there’s Guacumami.
It’s part of the new menu at the Cordúa Restaurants’ Amazon Grill. It was created by executive chef David Cordúa, son of founder Michael Cordúa, This version has avocado, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan and toasted pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. And this version kicks regular guac’s butt.
“It’s a really earthy, savory taste,” David Cordúa says. And that it is, the flavor is so much deeper than regular guacamole.
"I remember when our restaurants barely broke even during August. We let staff take off on vacations and cut shifts. But now, God bless Cleverley, it’s our busiest month."
As much as you just want to stuff your face with this guac and those fried plantain chips, don’t. Because the rest of the new menu is just as good. Cordúa has added a blue cheese fondue with grilled chimichurri bread that will sooth your chili con queso craving, five new burgers like the Jalapeno Popper Burger (with cream cheese, grilled jalapeño, bacon, onion, tomato and smoked mustard) and the Mofongo Burger (with chimichurri grilled beef and sweet roasted plantain, smoked panela cheese, tomato, black bean refritos, pickled onion and jalapeño remoulade) — both served on a savory grilled challah bun.
The menu also features three mouthwatering Cubano sandwiches (the Cubano de Pollo is a wonderful pressed chicken sandwich with whipped mortadella, provolone and smoked mustard is a flavor party in your mouth), three soups, six taco plates, seven salads and a new section called Cordúa Signatures that draws items from sister restaurants Américas and Churrascos, including Grilled Chicken Bahia, Pollo Encamisado and Filete en Salsa Jalapena.
One of the sandwiches is made of braised pork — only it's braised with Coca Cola.
“Parts of Central America are not really wine areas,” David Cordúa says. “It’s too hot, so we braise our meats there with Coca Cola.”
Oh, and the famous Mixed Grill platter, my favorite, with chimichurri grilled steak and chicken, achiote grilled shrimp, rice, refried black beans, plantains and tortillas now comes with these little grilled Spanish chorizo sausages from San Antonio that are just divinely spicy morsels. They are so good in fact that Cordúa is planning to make them into kolache bar bites for all the family restaurants.
I can’t wait.
You want sweets? Try the make-your-own S’mores, a real funnel cake or the popular tres leches served in Mason jars.
Oh, and there’s now salsa dancing on Friday and Saturday nights at the restaurant on Kirby Drive so you can work off all those calories.
Big Houston Restaurant Moments
The menu update comes at a time when the Cordúa empire is celebrating 25 years in business. Nicaraguan-born Michael Cordúa opened his first Latin restaurant here on August 8, 1988. To commemorate the anniversary the Cordúas are publishing a cookbook in November with more than 100 recipes; Cordúa: Foods of the Américas is co-authored by local foodie John Demers and will be published by Bright Sky Press.
Award winning founder Michael Cordúa gave a shout out to another local foodie: Cleverley Stone, founder of Houston Restaurant Weeks, the month long fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank that offers specially priced meals at more than a hundred restaurants during August.
“I remember when our restaurants barely broke even during August,” Michael Cordúa says. “We let staff take off on vacations and cut shifts. But now, God bless Cleverley, it’s our busiest month. It’s a great event for a great charity and it’s saved our summer business.”
Viva la HRW! I hope you had some great meals last month but I hope you’ve saved some room to check out Amazon Grill’s new menu. And don’t forget to try the Guacumami. I hereby christen it the best in town.