Tamarindo Culinary Stars

March 18, 2005

ALONG with all the new commercialdevelopment in town, Tamarindo is fastbecoming a culinary hot spot. The brightestnew stars on the gastronomic scene aretwo dinner-only restaurants:Dragonfly Bar and GrillThis place is basically a tent with dramaticlighting, a cool soundtrack and,most important, an excellent chef, importedfrom New Jersey. The menu is up-to the-minute, with wood fires, Asianaccents and spicy, tropical flavors.The most popular dish is a fluffymound of smoky chipotle-flavoredmashed potatoes, topped by thinly-slicedroasted carrots and green beans, anchoringan inch-thick, perfectly cooked,chile-rubbed pork chop (¢5,200 [$11]).An Afro of crispy onion strips tops thechop and chunks of roasted apple add asweet contrast. Reserve early; this placefills up by 7 p.m. The Dragonfly is open6-10 p.m., closed Sundays. Turn rightjust before Hotel Pasatiempo along thenew dirt road, and go about 100 meters.Call 653-1506.La Laguna del Cocodrilo BistroThis is very serious French food, in acasual garden setting with North Africanambience and superb service. Parisianchef Sebastien Couratier dresses up hislarge portions of fish and meat ($14.50-24) with red-pepper coulis, balsamicreductions, truffles and curry oil. Afavorite appetizer or light dinner is thelobster salad served over a fried greentomato with an avocado purée and a drizzleof basil oil ($9.50). The warm molten chocolatecake with caramelized bananasand vanilla ice cream is even more deliciousthan it sounds ($5). This is a special occasionplace, so make reservationsearly. Open 6-10 p.m., closed Sundays,the restaurant is located at the entrance toTamarindo, in the Laguna del CocodriloHotel. Call 653-0255.

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