Japanese Restaurant and Dangerous Doors

When giving us our room tour, our butler had told us we needed to make dinner reservations at least 1/2 hour before for the Grand restaurants and one day before for restaurants at the other hotels. As guests of the Grand, we could eat at any restaurant in the Iberostar 5 hotel complex. We never left the Grand though. At least for dinner. We were happy with the restaurants there. For our first night we chose Haiku, the Japanese restaurant. We dressed and headed out to find it. There is a covered walkway from the Ocean Front Buildings (70 & 71) to the main building, where all the restaurants are. We had checked the map and sort of had an idea where we were going. I didn’t know which floor it was on.

Now, I’d had 2 glasses of champagne and a glass of rum, but some time had passed, so I really didn’t think being under the influence had anything to do with what happened.

We came up to the Bella Vista buffet and walked around outside to L’Atelier, the gourmet restaurant. There is a door that goes into L’Atelier from the outside, as well as one from the inside. At this time, we had come upon some doors that opened automatically. This door did not. However, it had no Iberostar logo etched onto it (they all do now) and was crystal clear and, thinking it was open, I walked right into it. BOOM! Owww! I had a red mark on the bridge of my nose all week.

The hostess came over and we asked where the Japanese restaurant was. It was two flights of stairs up. We hurried off, slightly embarassed. I later read about someone walking into one of the doors and it shattered. I was glad that didn’t happen to me.

We found Haiku and were seated at a Tempanyaki table. There was the center area for the chef and then two tables for people to sit, each table had an area for two people on each side, so it was a lot more intimate that most Tampanyaki tables. Each seating area is recessed.

We asked for some red wine and were brought a bottle. I knew there was a wine list, but we didn’t see it until we ate at the Italian restaurant. We liked the wine they gave us. I can’t remember exactly what kind of red it was though.

Ordering wine at Iberstar Paraiso over the years has been an adventure. Sometimes there is a wine list, sometimes there is no choice other than “blanco” or “tinto”, although I can usually get a bottle of Cabernet if I ask nicely. The Grand always has a decent selection, in my opinion. It’s not the best wine, but it is usually very drinkable. It was at the Grand (in August of 2010) that I sent back my first bottle of wine ever. You’ll have to read that trip report though, to get the story about that.

Dinner that first night was delicious. The fried rice was possible the best I have ever had. The veggies were yummy. I ordered the filet, which was good. The chef did not ask how we wanted our beef cooked and it ended up slightly overcooked. More recently it has been way overcooked and I just don’t order beef anymore here because of that.

Lobster was on the menu and Zung tried to order that, but was told it was not available. He got shrimp instead. The lobster would become an issue for us. It was on multiple menus, but was not available anywhere but the Surf and Turf. We were told it was not in season. My feeling was, if you put lobster on the menu, you need to find a way to supply it. If you are not going to offer it when it is not in season, change your menu. Of course, they could get lobster, just not the Caribbean lobster that is more readily available. They have changed this, because it is now always available.

The chef put on a good show. This is another thing that has changed. The last several trips I have made to the Grand, there has been no show cooking.

This first time, the chef made an onion volcano.

I passed on dessert. Zung got the mango sushi.

We were pretty tired after our travel day. We headed back to our room and went to bed. The bed was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept in, in Mexico. Actually, it was one of the most comfortable hotel beds I have slept in EVER. (The Bellagio had the MOST comfortable bed in any hotel. Zung will always chime in that he has never been to the Bellagio. I took Susie there for her 18th birthday. I need to take Zung so he’ll quit whining about it). At home, we have a Tempurpedic, which is the most comfortable bed, bar none.

I woke up in the middle of the night and kept hearing this noise. It sounded like the air conditioner coming on and shutting off repeatedly. Zung woke up and heard it too. In the morning he decided it was the sound of the ocean. I didn’t think so, but it made him happy, and it was his birthday trip, after all.

Another thing I decided in the middle of the night was that I didn’t like my pillow. I knew that was no problem because they had a whole menu of pillows I could choose from! I planned to do just that.

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