Friday, April 8, 2022

Aperi: SMA's Best Fine Dining Experience

If there’s one restaurant over the years that defines fine dining in San Miguel de Allende, its Aperi. To me, anything that is a pleasure or a comfort is a luxury and Aperi has been fortunate enough to be blessed with many. At Aperi, the food is always simple yet elegantly prepared, well-balanced, varied and original using the best ingredients available from local producers. I’ve learned a lot about ingredients and cuisines by eating at Aperi. In the nine years I’ve been in SMA, Aperi’s food has been mostly fabulous but I must admit, I’ve never fully recovered from the departure of Chef Matteo Salas. In my opinion, Chef Matteo Salas could prepare anything and make it taste divine. Enter 29 years old Chef Omar Alejandro Henriquez Martinez, who brings a broad spectrum of experience to Aperi. The chef from Nayarit shows much promise to become another one of SMA’s best chefs. He won us over with the diversity of his menu; a foundation he acquired under French trained chefs, Edgar Núñez of Sud 777 and Joaquín Cardoso at Hotel Carlota and WW Residence in Mexico City. The Chef's table, one of my favorite places to dine at the restaurant, led Aperi to be recognized as one of the best gourmet experiences in Mexico. It’s available to a party of two or more every night except Tuesday, when the restaurant is closed. If you haven’t been there yet, you haven’t truly experienced fine dining in SMA. The tasting menu highlights the new creations of Chef Omar Alejandro Henriquez Martinez and his team, along with some of the restaurants more classic dishes. After his professional training at the Technological University of Bahía de Banderas, in Nuevo Vallarta, Henriquez began his work at Vista Grill Puerto Vallarta. In 2015, he worked at the restaurant of Chef Edgar Núñez, Sud 777; a place that has been listed in the Best Restaurants in Latin America ranking. In 2016, he worked within the first team of Nativo Gastronómic Workshop, advised by Chef Paul Bentley. In 2017 he was at Hotel Carlota, working as a sous chef for Chef Joaquín Cardoso and in 2018, he was alongside the same chef and Chef Sofía Cortina, who was named the Best Pastry Chef in Latin America by the renowned Latin America's 50 Best list at WW Residence.. His passion for cooking, knowledge and mastery of techniques led him to continue his professional training in “Pasiones Culinarias” in Oaxaca, “Salsas Madres” by chef Gerard Dupont and to participate in The Gastronomic Congress of Puerto Vallarta, “La Gran Cena del Chef” 20th edition, and the 2012 “Tianguis Turístico” in Puerto Vallarta. He’s also participated in dinners for both Carolina Herrera and Salvatore Ferragamo. Chef Omar Alejandro Henriquez Martinez came directly to Aperi from the kitchen of Joaquín Cardoso in January, 2020. His devotion to social responsibility and sustainability are fundamental values within his work.
Chef Michael Coon and I started our pre-farewell meal with an appetizer – a Scallop ceviche with pickled cacus, red onion, cherry tomato, green grape and furikake. We ranked the dish among the top ceviche’s in SMA.
Our second course was a roasted cauliflower tostada with pickled radish, parsnip puree, peanut mole and cotijo cheese; another attractive and unique presentation.
We followed with Mussels, shallot butter, ginger, sake and sourdough bread; one of our favorite dishes of the meal but never enough bread to soak up the buttery flavors. Aperi’s attentive staff brought us another board, where the Master Bakers at affiliated Panio performed their usual magic.
Main courses included a very tender Short Rib, oyster mushrooms, mole de olla and kale and Red Snapper Zarandeado with roasted pineapple puree and bok choy. The taste of the snapper was exceptional; smoked in a cherry oak.
Desserts were deliciously layered with multiple flavors: Figs Vacherin, charred grapefruit, lavender ice cream, vanilla cream and meringue and the creamy Mascarpone with coffee ice cream and soleta. With attention to all of the details, this was some of the best service we’ve had in SMA. Aperi’s team truly understands the ins and outs of their menu; the waiters answered every question – and we had many - with knowledge and confidence. I’ve been hearing that the dining levels are down in SMA but when we were at Aperi, it was full for comida and dinner reservations that night had also been sold out. You owe it to yourself to dine at one of the best restaurants in town, not because you haven’t eaten out a lot in the past two years but because you deserve a meal that truly defines the experience of luxury eating in SMA. Was Aperi our perfect meal? We thought it was pretty close! Aperi Restaurant Quebrada 101, Centro Phone: 415 152 0941 Hours: 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM/Closed Tuesday Chef: Omar Alejandro Henriquez Martinez