First Call: La Isla Is Sexy With a Side of Cilantro

The Surfing Rincon includes three rums, courtesy of a kid from Omaha.

The Watering Hole La Isla, 2320 N.W. Market St. BALLARDThe Atmosphere La Isla goes almost unnoticed amid the boutique shops of Market Street. However, upon entry, the Puerto Rican restaurant's sexy demeanor reaches out in the form of good-looking staffers and tight table arrangements.The Barkeep Outdoor enthusiast (by day, anyway) Ben Capdeviellek, from Omaha, Neb. He's only been tending bar at La Isla for four months, but he's no amateur. He previously worked at King's Hardware in Ballard and Pioneer Square's Collins Pub. Ask him any question about gin and its distilling process, and you'll be entertained for an hour.The Drink On the menu, it's known as the Surfing Rincon: Three rums (white, banana, and coconut) and a splash of pineapple juice are shaken to create a frothy head and served over crushed ice.The Verdict Capdeviellek is not the type to skimp on alcohol. The tropical drinks are pleasantly strong, and on nights when La Isla brings in a band, they make refreshing quenchers between stints on the dance floor. If you're lucky, Capdeviellek will even make another specialty of his: gin straight up, with a sprig of cilantro that serves as an effective breath-freshener.First Call is a weekly feature on our food blog, Voracious (, in which we ask a bartender to make us his or her favorite drink.

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