Ever tried going to a restaurant in someone’s basement? Me neither, until I found Tortuga. Tortuga is a local supper club located in downtown Davis that offers themed dinners that provide an “out of the shell dining experience.” And it definitely was. I decided to try this place on Valentine’s Day and it was better than I had expected. From the decor to the food, this will be an experience I will never forget.
Tortuga’s menu includes a starter, three-course meal (salad, entree, and dessert), and complimentary red wine.
As a starter, the Tortuga chefs prepared a basket of freshly baked pretzel buns with a crusty exterior, fluffy center, and topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. The pretzel buns were served with a creamy roasted mustard and shallots butter, which made them that much more luxurious.
Just as I was in the midst of enjoying one of these fluffy golden buns, I saw an elegant and colorful salad come out of the kitchen. The foraged greens paired perfectly with the sweet, pickled beets, creamy goat cheese, crunchy hazelnuts, and delicate edible flowers, all drizzled with a fragrant, tart oxalis vinaigrette. The salad was so light, yet full of flavor at the same time. This is a salad I won’t mind coming back to eat all the time.
After just a short wait, the waiters/waitresses carried out the main entrée . All I could think of was, “That looks faaaaaannnncyy.”
The plate had generous portions of tender duck breast with grilled radicchio, black trumpet mushrooms, sweet purple cipollini onions, and a blood orange caramelized sugar gastrique. Is this fancy enough for you? The duck breast was juicy with a crispy skin on top. The blood orange gastrique cut through the richness of the duck breast and left me wanting more. The taste and plating of this entrée was definitely MasterChef quality.
By this time I was ready for an amazing dessert to complete this dinner, and it definitely did not disappoint. Here came a chocolate torte with a raspberry coulis, hazelnut almond crumble, and edible flower garnish. The velvety smooth torte with the hazelnut almond crumble provided two different textures that worked unexpectedly well together. The raspberry coulis provided tartness that cut through the rich chocolate torte, which is way better than your typical chocolate cake.
After this impressive meal, I know I will be coming back to Tortuga for more. For delicious food like this, how can anyone say no? Tortuga isn’t like a typical restaurant that is open seven days a week. If you ever feel like trying this place (which I highly recommend), remember to make a reservation beforehand via Facebook. The spots fill up quickly.
Hopefully Tortuga will expand to more locations so I can still enjoy their gourmet food, even when I’m away from Davis.