Archive for the ‘Upscale Mexican’ Category

La Brasa – Sauce me. 

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

www.labrasasomerville.com

Location: Somerville, MA

The Foodie: Recommends

Space: La Brasa is a modern newish restaurant hidden in an unlikely corner of East Somerville on Broadway.  I suck at describing interior design and would never aspire to write for Dwell Magazine, but let’s call the inside of La Brasa rustic and wood-toned with a sort-of modern farmhouse vibe. Open kitchen with a large wood-burning stove.

Why Eat Here, You Ask?

  • Helmed and operated by Daniel Bojorquez and Frank McClelland,  who are both heavy culinary hitters from the famed L’Espalier. Bojorquez respectably spends ample time in his own kitchen, and was proudly cooking up dishes on a Saturday night.
  • The menu does fusion with style while not being pretentious. You’ll find everything from moles to Thai sauces on things like fried chicken and roasted carrots. The influences draw from Central and South America, Southeast Asia, France, and… Georgia?

Signature Moves: The sauces. Really the stand-out of every dish on the menu. Rich and complex moles, a funky escargot sauce on fried chicken that was actually good, a mustard-seed and tomato-based sauce on a razor clam dish – all excellent and I couldn’t even tell you everything that went into them. I have much ‘spect for those chefs who can nail the sauce game because this is one of the hardest aspects of cooking to pull off well in my opinion. In other liquids, the wine list is also stellar.

Complaint Department:

  • When is the “small plates” trend going to fade away?
  • Though plating and food art doesn’t really get to me, others may not love the layout of some of the dishes here.

Pics (For the 90% of Readers Who Look Here First, I Give You  an iPhone Photo Shoot):

Oven.

Oven.

Fried Chicken.

Fried Chicken.

Carrots w/ Mole.

Carrots w/ Mole.

Razor Clams.

Razor Clams.

The Painted Burro – That Colorful Donkey Got Moves

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

http://www.thepaintedburro.com/

Location: Somerville, MA

The Foodie: Recommends

Its tough to displace a neighborhood mainstay – but the Gargoyle has morphed into a little painted donkey quite well.

The owners of nearby upscale Italian pizzeria and wine bar Posto have proven themselves skilled restaurateurs by branching out into a completely different culinary genre and doing it well.

I’ll walk you through why their new, stylish, “Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar” is going to become one of the more popular eateries in Davis (maybe at the risk of cannibalizing foodies from their other spot).

  • Drink menu is twice the size as the food menu. There are countless tequilas, a nice selection of south-of-the-border beers, and a sexy bar area.
  • The house margaritas are a simple yet effective affair made with good tequila and lime juice (skipping the Cointreau). At just 8 bucks these babies are smooth and will please even the most discriminating spirits snob.

  • The tortilla chips. Ohhhh…the tortilla chips. Usually that part of a Mexican meal relegated to being mindlessly devoured by hungry gringos waiting for their mains – the Burro kicks these babies up a notch. These chips come out warm, are well-salted, and are thick while still managing to be light and airy. So delightful we must have gone through nine buckets of the things. I was still clinging to a handful on our way out the door after a huge meal.

  • The Guac. Though not the best I’ve had in town (that award still goes to Ole), the version here is slightly creamy and smooth and still thoroughly enjoyable.

  •  The platos principales. The entrees feature whole fish, rabbit leg, carne asada, a snobby-looking yuppified enchilada stuffed with maitake mushrooms and goat cheese, and a drool-inducing short rib barbecoa with poblano and Oaxaca grits.
  • Dos tacos. In addition to the aforementioned platos, the Burro is passionate about tacos judging by a selection of soft tortillas filled with things like chorizo, gulf shrimp, pork ‘cochinita,’ skirt steak, and my favorite – crispy Maine redfish. Though I loved my redfish with cabbage/jalapeno slaw and baja sauce – I was less impressed by the other tacos ordered by my fellow table chums.

The Burro is a welcome addition to the square as Davis continues to maintain a fine veneer of loveable piss-soaked college bars while becoming a breeding-ground for yuppie-friendly fun and games. I wonder what’s next for the Posto-Burro team…are they going Asian? South African? French?  Time will tell.

Mi nombre es Ryan. I bebe como el diablo.

Tu Y Yo – We Were Meant to Be.

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

http://www.tuyyo2.com/somerville.htm

Location: Somerville, MA

The Foodie: Recommends

I was absolutely blown away by the dinner I had here recently.

I want to broadcast to the world…no to a small enclave of people living within a one mile radius of you…that you are the best home-cooked style authentic Mexican food around – no doubt about it. Here I will unveil your greatness to my fellow foodies to spread the word, hopefully not too far – I want to keep you a secret.

TO THE READER, A NOTICE ABOUT YOUR REVIEWER:
-Been to Mexico only once, to a beautiful city called Queretaro. There I sampled a variety of authentic Mexican fare, from cactus gorditas to chile relleno en nogada. Otherwise my experience with real Mexican food is limited to the best attempts in other countries. I am however, an experienced foodie who has sampled hundreds of restaurants in the area. For that, I think I deserve a little credit.

WHY I LOVED THIS PLACE:
They actually had chile relleno en nogada! Think, no dream of poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef, almond, raisin, peach, and cheese, smothered in a sweet creamy sauce with pomegranate seeds. The dish has a mild (but noticeable) spice to it and the pomegranate seed added a nice twist. WARNING this is an intensely satisfying and flavorful traditional dish. And damn their sauces and mole are good on other dishes too.

BESIDES GOOD FOOD…
Service was prompt, polite and chill. Main dishes ranged from $13 to $19, and wines were extremely affordable (bottles mostly in the $20-$30 range). Reservations recommended on weekends.

THE BEST PART:
This restaurant is a treat to local Somervillains. Far enough from the subway and Davis to attract tourists and passerby…but close enough for me to stuff my face any night I want.

In short, perfect. Tu Y Yo you and me were meant to be.