I had some fun sharing my thoughts on a name earlier, so I think that I would be remiss if I didn’t break this one down a bit as well. Criolla (pronounced kree-oh-yah) directly translates as either “creole” as in from the creole region of the Caribbean, or as “spicy,” for the same reason. Keeping in mind that the Colombia has coastline on the Atlantic side of the Americas as well as the Pacific, it’s definitely appropriate that they have some exposure to the unique cooking style of the Caribbean Islands. Criolla can also be used as a synonym for “typical,” as is the case with this restaurant. I cringe to describe Mulata to you, because I find the term distasteful at best. But I recognize that not everyone shares my views, and that difference of opinion can lead to some interesting language choices. In this case, Mulata is used (still unfortunately derogatory) to describe food that has been blackened by the grill. So Mulata Criolla is meant to be understood as “blackened food typical of a hot grill.”
I mentioned my theory to my tour guide. I don’t speak Spanish especially well (though I love vacationing in Spanish speaking countries for the practice) so I was definitely challenged fully communicating the idea with him, but once he got it I could tell that he enjoyed it. I’m not sure if he agreed, but he couldn’t immediately refute it. And adding fuel to the fire: the Mulata Criolla was definitely a tourist restaurant, and definitely had a salad menu.
My wife decided that she wasn’t insulted by the assumption that she, being a tourist, might want to order a salad. Ob Tourist menu or not, this Ensalada De Lomito came out looking pretty amazing!
I opted to tastefully ignore the stereotype… Instead I ordered the Churrasco Mulata. I was really looking forward to a well crisped steak, curious how it would turn out. I’m a big fan of properly done caramelized foods. The best way to get this is with a braised meat dish, and when it’s done right, it’s just amazing! I frantically looked for anything braised in this menu, but was disappointed to realize that Mulata in this case excluded the caramelization of a good braising. I settled for the flame-crisped steak instead; which would be the prize in any other scenario!
It was delicious, as was the avocado salad it was serve with. I assume the potatoes are also excellent, though I have no idea, since potatoes aren’t on my menu. The same goes for the Arepa also served with the meal – I assume it’s good, but I didn’t try it.
All told, the service was good and the food was just right. If price isn’t a consideration, this restaurant is definitely worth eating at. It’s a bit on the pricey side though, and will unfortunately cut down on my restaurant trips for this week. So if price is a consideration, you may want to skip it.