Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mezcalito's: a third Mex-style restaurant opens in Grant Park

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 7:29 AM

Olé, everybody. Mezcalito's Cocina and Tequila Bar has opened in Grant Park. Sister to the popular restaurant in Oakhurst, Mezcalito's Cantina, it's been open about three weeks. It joins Mi Barrio and Agave in providing the neighborhood with Mexican-Southwestern fare.

The place is a looker. It's another converted storage place, but the metal exterior is hangar-like. The designers have taken that curvy shape inside to portions of the walls and the bar area. Day of the Dead allusions show up here and there. It's a bit kitschy and lots of fun.

The food? I've only dined there once, but thoroughly enjoyed my entree of red pork mole (pictured). The mole includes pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, raisins and oranges. I wanted a shot of heat to take the sweet edge off it but couldn't find any sauces on the menu. Savory black beans and a fluorescently green rice rounded out the plate.

Wayne limited himself to one chipotle-spiked taco filled with grilled steak and an avocado salad, which had very little Mexican about it but was sabroso nonetheless. I should note that the menu overall is not purely Mexican, unless a Chino Taco with teriyaki-sauced pork is popular at Oaxacan food trucks these days. I'm not sure how Japanese teriyaki ends up being described as Chino, either.

The one near-fail dish was a starter of chorizo cheese dip. It's a small portion for $5.95 and was too watery for our taste. If you want chips and salsa, by the way, you'll have to pay $3.95. I think that's reasonable, but I've seen more than a few diners over the years go off on servers because they weren't supplied endless mouthfuls of free chips.

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