As much as I love to cook, this mom needs a break from kitchen duty every now and again. Lately though, we’re getting a little burned out on our regular take out and casual family dining joints. When we do eat out, it’s frustrating to see the same boring and veggie-less dishes on the kids menu. It’s challenging to find a family friendly restaurant that offers healthy, delicious dishes that cater both to adult and kids’ tastes.
Last week, Paladar Latin Kitchen in Rockville, MD hosted our family to show us that a kids menu doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, every Monday through Thursday in October 2015, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree $13.95 or higher. It’s available from 4PM to close. Perfect for a weeknight dinner out. (There’s more locations in the DC metro area)
So what did we think of the food? Spoiler alert: everyone left full and happy. We’re planning on returning (on our own dime).
First: The Drinks
Thursday night happened to be my birthday (I didn’t tell the restaurant ahead of time). Thursday night wasn’t very busy and we were seated right away. Restaurant manager Tim told us it’s packed during happy hour, which is from 4-7PM everyday (even weekends). I’m glad we missed the rush because everyone was super hungry!
Our waitress Diane recommended the pomegranate ginger mojito, so I treated myself to a cocktail. It was delightfully refreshing without being too sweet. For you pumpkin fans, there’s also a pumpkin spice mojito. You’ll be glad to know that all the mixes and purees are made fresh in-house.
Of course the kids wanted a special drink too. Their (virgin) strawberry lemonade was not only pretty, but made with fresh strawberry puree. If you have little ones, you can ask for a kid-friendly cup. The kids felt super grown-up with their sugar-rimmed glasses.
Next: The Kids Menu
After a round of mango guacamole and slow roasted chicken empanadas, we were ready to dig into our main course. Both Sophia and Jaxson ordered the skirt steak. Without prodding, they substituted the black beans with sauteed green beans. I guess I taught them right!
The green beans were cooked al dente: a little snap and very fresh. I had to beg them for a bite of their steak (for research purposes, of course). It was flavorful and very tender. They were both very sad after they ate their last piece of steak.
Entrees: What the Parents Ate
My husband begrudgingly shared his pork chop with the rest of us. But just a small bite. He informed us that it was the best pork chop he’s ever eaten. Trust me, he’s eaten a lot of pork chops. The chipotle honey berkshire pork chop was moist and tender–perfectly cooked. It was served on a bed of grits and Salvadorian slaw. I think there might have been coconut in the grits–there was a hint of sweetness that complemented the corn grits.
Because I cook a lot, I’m a bit picky about my dishes at restaurants. The veracruz seafood stew was a spicy explosion of flavors in my mouth. It was absolutely amazing! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I’m glad I strayed from my usual steak. I devoured the entire plate!
We wrapped up our meal with crispy churros and coffee. Well, coffee for us grown ups. Chocolate and marshmallow sauces were perfect for dipping. The next time we go, I’m going to try the dark chocolate flan.
Verdict: Delicious & Kid Approved
If you’re looking for a restaurant with flavorful dishes that cater to adult palates and a healthy delicious kids menu, then Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar is for you. We had great service but not just because we were guests of the restaurants. I have a feeling that Diane is just as attentive to other diners. She engaged with the kids and they enjoyed their conversation with her.
My husband and I joked about returning to Paladar for date night so we can try their Latin rum flights. They’re offering a special tasting for Rum Appreciation Month (taste 3 types of rum for $10). The kids weren’t too keen about us leaving them behind, so I guess we’re coming back for another family dinner. Before the month ends because kids can eat free in October!
Now to decide what else to try from their extensive dinner menu.