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Gastronome: KEEPING IT SIMPLE

By A. Kaze. 17.09.2008

Gastronome

Brīvības 31, Riga
Phone: 371 67772356
Wokring hours: Mon-Fri 11:00 - 23:00,Sat 11:00 - 0:00,Sun 12:00 - 23:00,
COUSINE: Seafood
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  The main feature of dining at Gastronome is enjoying seafood which has retained the essence of natural flavors.

 

That’s what chef Andrejs Skulte and his team always keeps in mind when preparing the excellent meals of this restaurant. You won’t find any fusion cooking here, or sauces that combine dozens of herbs and flavors. Instead, most of the meals are simply grilled dishes that bring out how the fish or crustacean naturally tastes.

Great emphasis is also placed on guaranteeing freshness. Although the company that owns the restaurant also supplies sea and ocean produce to most of the other restaurants in the city, Gastronome gets its deliveries first, therefore guaranteeing the freshest in town. Those in the know come to take advantage of this on Monday and Friday nights, right after supplies are delivered. That’s when you can enjoy food that was still in its watery home less than 24 hours earlier. That is, unless you choose a lobster from the tank on the premises.

Even though Latvia is on the Baltic Sea, nearly all the stock is imported because the local seafood is either not the best quality or is not competitive enough in the market. There are other reasons too. The chef avoids Baltic salmon for example, as these feed on grasses which result in a rather bland taste. So the salmon comes from Scotland, Norway or Alaska.

We sampled some other fish in the “Catch of the Day” meal which includes a variety of seafood chosen by the chef. We were told that this changes according to what is freshest on the day. The platter included a thick and lightly grilled tuna slice, an impressive Madagascar prawn and a sea bass fillet (€15). While the taste of each seafood item was indeed able to be savored by the expert preparation, the latter was the most delicate – simply melting in the mouth. The stronger tasting tuna was succulent and the prawn was prepared with just a hint of chili aftertaste. Meals don’t come with a side and must be ordered additionally.

Plenty of other varieties are on the grill and pan-fried menu. Take your pick from swordfish, turbot, monkfish, sole, plaice or others, at an average of €18 each. We also sampled one of the four pasta main meals, spaghetti with tuna and a light tomato sauce topped with mozzarella cheese (€10) – definitely a filling choice. As a starter, we can thoroughly recommend the sizzling scallops which were incredibly plump and delicious, although you only get three which was disappointing (€13).

The restaurant itself offers a classy yet casual environment. Calm golden and wood tones are offset by attractive lighting, some of which is by table lamplight to make things more intimate. A nice touch is the photographs on the walls showing where the seafood comes from. There’s a thoughtfully chosen wine list, with a list of vintages especially appropriate for seafood, plus fine cognacs and spirits. Gatronome can definitely be classified as a true seafood specialist.




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