Atmosphere. Mistral is located in the gorgeous Ibn Batutta Gate Hotel. The hotel lobby features a grand atrium with marble floors, Arabian themed seating areas, fountains and soaring archways. The entire area is softly illuminated by 88 bespoke lanterns which complement the decor and create an intimate feeling.

Mistral is situated just off the atrium. Guests enter through an archway into a formal, yet comfortable dining room. As my guest and I approached, we were overcome by the sound of music. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the flawlessly rendered songs were being performed by a two man band. They covered songs from a variety of genres like, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. Though loud, my guest noted that, “the music gave a modicum of privacy and insulated conversation between the tables”. The vibe was laid back and perfect for good food, and lots of fun.

Food. The Surf and Turf Night Brunch surpasses all other buffets I have ever experienced. There was a variety of choices presented across 10 different food stations. Regardless of how simple or sophisticated there were options to satisfy every palette. My guest and  I sampled everything from marinated chicken kabobs to more exquisite fare like octopus, which I tried for the very first time.

We started the meal with salads. I created a salad made of crisp mixed greens, tomato, cucumber and mozzarella topped with a vinaigrette dressing. It was complemented by a shot of lime juice mixed with lemon and mint leaves. The pairing was a refreshing way to start the meal.

The meat and seafood was presented raw and seasoned. We each built custom entrees by choosing our own cuts and portions. Once the selections were made, we gave our plates to one of three chefs, located in the middle of the restaurant, to have our meat grilled. In turn, we were handed a number card to exchange for our plates upon pickup. The process was tailored to the individual dining experience.

There were endless choices of prepared side dishes. I sampled the Herb Roasted Red Potatoes and the Chilli Balsamic Glazed Pumpkin. My guest’s favorite dish of the evening was broccoli salad with chopped tomato and kalamata olives. The last and possibly most impressive food station was the dessert bar. It featured sliced cakes and pies like Strawberry Cake, Peach Crumb Cake, scones, an ice cream fridge with every topping imaginable and an area to make pancakes. The mini cakes weren’t made to stand alone either. There were fresh fruit toppings available for layering on the flavor. My favorite dessert was a slice of Pecan Pie. Each layer was perfectly prepared and the pecan flavor was smooth and mildly sweet. The pie, coupled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream rounded out what proved to be an excellent meal.

Service. The service was impeccable. We arrived about an hour after our reservation time. Although reservations are preferred, we were not turned away. The hostess greeted us with a smile and accommodated us. We were seated within three minutes of our arrival time. When the hostess learned that it was our first time at Mistral, she gave us a tour and explained the process for the evening. This was particularly good for us because its possible that with so many choices we may have missed some things navigating on our own. During the evening the manager stopped by our table to inquire about our experience. My guest also had the pleasure of meeting Sous Chef, Emil who personally brought over a bowl of broccoli salad. All of the staff were encountered were pleasant and genuinely concerned with helping us have the best possible experience.

Overall. Surf and Turf Night Brunch was superb. It takes place every Thursday night at Mistral Restaurant. Surf and Turf Night doubles as a good wind down from the past week  and the perfect opener for the weekend ahead. Based on the setting, food and service, the Surf and Turf Night packages are among the best value options for five star dining.

Click here to visit my Facebook page for more photos from the evening.

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