Restaurant 108 Top Chef: Senior Mikayla Woodberry

Restaurant 108 is a favorite place for students to get their lunch, and this month it’s also the site of a yearly tradition: Top Chef.

Beef empanadas with salsa. JASON ALTSHULER / SAGAMORE STAFF.

Beef empanadas with salsa. JASON ALTSHULER / SAGAMORE STAFF.

Bertina Xue and Jason Altshuler

On Tuesday, March 21 head chef and senior Mikayla Woodberry began the first installment of the annual competition with a Latin-American inspired menu, titled “Garifuna Flava.”

For an appetizer, we ordered the shrimp and avocado stuffed plantain cups (tazón de plátano con camarones y aguacate) and empanadas. The plantain cups were topped with plenty of pieces of shrimp and had a dab of avocado. The combination of the subtly sweet plantains and zesty shrimp worked great together for a rich flavor. The avocado provided extra texture to the dry, fried plantains. The empanadas were crispy and had a core of ground beef that provided bursts of flavor.

We ordered arroz con pollo for our entree, and eagerly eyed the dishes as they came out of the kitchen. The entree’s soft bed of rice mixed perfectly with the savory chicken, making a pleasant and filling meal.

Last but not least, we ordered the upside down pineapple cake and mango curd cupcake. Both desserts were absolutely exceptional. The upside down pineapple cake consisted of a cake base topped with pieces of pineapple and a maraschino cherry. The crumbly texture of the cake was just right, and the sweetness of the cake base went very well with the tropical flavor of the pineapple pieces. This dessert was served warm.

ThemMango curd cupcake was vanilla flavored topped with light yellow frosting and sugar. This dessert packed a wonderful mango surprise when bitten into or cut open. The fluffy frosting emphasized the citrus flavor of the mango filling, and the cake portion rounded off the taste perfectly. As fans of mangoes and cupcakes, this very well may be the best cupcake we have ever tried.

Ultimately, the experience was authentic, impressive and satisfying. The servers were courteous and efficient, bringing each table a refreshing glass of water before taking orders. The food was served quickly and hot, and the atmosphere of Restaurant 108 was friendly and relaxing.