A joint Lunch
Starving and on our way to S&R, my wife and I decided to have lunch first, rather than arrive at S&R hungry and buy everything in sight. On our way we stumbled upon a hip and trendy place in San Juan called CO/OP. A well-kept gravel parking lot precedes the entrance to what looks like a very hipster joint.
Oversized wooden letters which spell Manila adorn the front patio and the restaurant is divided into a dining area and merchandise area with an eclectic assortment of hip decor, books and other cool tchotchkes. The restaurant is very clean and the brick façade on the wall with the exposed beam ceiling and the photography lighting fixtures give it a novel studio feel.
“…we stumbled upon a hip and trendy place in San Juan called CO/OP”
So what did you order? We ordered an appetizer assortment consisting of the Spanakopitas, Cheesy Tots, Onion Stacks and topped it off with the Harvest salad. For the entrees we ordered the Tartufo, Shrimp Diablo and Shrimp Bistro pastas. Finally, we finished off with a dessert medley featuring the Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Banana S’mores Cake and a Brookie. What is that, you ask? Well, together at last, it is a devilishly cunning mix of cookie and brownie all in one! Oh and just in case you’re wondering why two people are eating for four, I neglected to mention that both my mother in law and sister in law were with us.
On to the food, how was it? Overall what I enjoyed the most were the Spanakopitas and the desserts (I have a sweet tooth). The Spanakopitas came in a batch of 6 and the filo pastry was surprisingly flakey, soft and delicious with a shrimp filling. Before you say it, I am aware that the very name Spanakopita implies spinach, yet there was not a trace of spinach inside; Delicious nonetheless. The Cheesy Tots were not bad, essentially tater tots mixed with melted cheese then fried. The Onion Stack were rings of onions battered fried onions. The batter was fairly light and not very oily, overall an addictive finger food. The harvest salad consisted of a medley of caramelized walnuts, greens, Asian pears, grapes and a light balsamic vinaigrette.
The main dishes, how was the pasta? A little disappointing. I am a bit of a pasta snob, this is true, but holy sodium Batman! I really wanted to like the pasta, the presentation was very appetizing and all three dishes looked great. The gripe I had with the food we ordered was that the pasta was a little too overcooked and the rest of the dish too salty. The Shrimp Diablo is a mix of spicy shrimp in a chili tomato garlic sauce served on Linguini, the Tartufo is Parma Ham in a mushroom sauce with a little (and I mean, very little) truffle oil served on Fettucine and the Shrimp Bistro is torta fried shrimp in a mix of lemon garlic cream sauce served on Spaghetti.
“Overall I’d say that had the dishes not been so salty and the pasta on the overcooked side, I would have enjoyed my lunch quite a bit more”
Sweet, sweet desserts! I am sugar biased but also very picky when it comes to sweets. Nonetheless, I did enjoy the desserts, again presentation is nicely done with the Cheesecake drizzled with caramel sauce and the Brookie warmed up and drizzled with chocolate sauce. The cheesecake was delicious, albeit on the denser side, yet still light and moist with the salted caramel complementing it very well. As opposed to other cheesecakes made with gelatin to mask the density, this one actually surprised me by being quite well done. The Brookie was a little dry, with the cookie part on top and the brownie on the bottom, I expected it to be a little moister, but delicious nonetheless. The Banana S’mores cake was a generous wedge, a little on the sweet side, but that’s what you get when you mix marshmallows, chocolate cream and cake in one.
Overall Experience? Overall I’d say that had the dishes not been so salty and the pasta on the overcooked side, I would have enjoyed my lunch quite a bit more. Like I mentioned before, I really wanted to like the pasta, I guess I will have to go back and try their other dishes. Oooh the herb crusted beef tenderloin looks good.
Overall Rating: 2.5