2. Executive Chef Sean Ehland was recently nominated for James Beard Rising Star Chef
3. Big Burrito Restaurant Group James Beard Nomination (and past pleasant experiences with them)
4. The Kaya Burger
Kaya’s cuisine is what I would call Island/fusion, the site notes that they draw inspiration from, “Caribbean Islands, South America, the Pacific and beyond”. When Emily and I arrived for our reservations at 6:00 the place was packed. We were greeted by a very friendly hostess with an Island accent. She like décor was an obvious attempt from the restaurant to provide an island feel.
There was a bit of mix up with reservation times initially, but the team did everything they could to accommodate. The same quality of service was consistent throughout the night. We had a knowledgeable and polite young waiter, who made some great recommendations.
|Rum runner -Coconut rum, silver rum, blackberry brandy, banana liqueur, pineapple, OJ & grenadin|
Em decided to test their impressive drinks and draft menu with a Rum Runner. I’m not much of one for mixed drinks, but I liked this. It was pleasantly sweet and hid the alcohol well, I mostly got
pineapple juice from it – but could identify the other flavors.
|Tuna Tartare poblano, scallion, avocado, lime, guajillo oil, créme fraîche, cilantro, radish|
The Tuna tartare was sizable. Definitely an item to be shared. Served with lightly fried plantain chips, the chips were bland on their own, but a great texture and appropriate vehicle for the tartare. The tuna itself was obviously fresh and all of the components did well to complement but not overwhelm the flavor of the fish . I particularly liked sweet flavor and texture of the inter worked bits of corn.
|Calamari – coconut, apple, jicama, cabbage slaw – peanuts, sesame banana alioli|
The calamari had a light crispy batter that allowed the squid to still play an equal part. The highlight for me was the sesame/banana saucing mixed with the peanut, jicama, apple, coconut and cabbage slaw. That’s a lot of flavors to throw together, and they all worked. I particularly liked the creative way to pair banana and peanut.
|Crispy Fish Tacos: cabbage slaw, avocado, spicy
crème fraîche, cilantro, Reyna’s tortilla
The fish came very lightly fried – almost resembling grilled. The tilapia itself had a well seasoned crispy exterior, but had become a bit tough. I enjoyed the texture from the slaw, and the flavors from the spicy crème fraiche and generous base layer of fresh avocado. The tortillas came locally from Reynas which is always appreciated. Overall a pleasant dish but I wouldn’t travel for it.
|The Kaya Burger -pickles, avocado, bacon, tomato, Chihuahua cheese, sunny-side egg, secret Kaya sauce, Kaya chips.|