There’s a new Mexican restaurant in town called Mezcal Tacos and Tequila on James South, and it’s going to knock your pinatas off even if you aren’t a fan of Mexican or latin-inspired cuisine. It’s not open til March 1st, but I went to a festive night of food and tequila, where head chef and owner, (and former executive chef of the fabulous Earth to Table Bread Bar) Manny Ferreira was furiously churning out dish after dish that he is considering for the new menu. Friends and family jubilantly sampled and gave feedback. I don’t know if the feedback was as constructive as Chef Manny would have liked, because I heard nothing but gasps of delight and repeated exclamations between crunches of nachos, tacos and salads.
It’s hard to come up with criticism when you’re gorging yourself on homemade nachos, hot and crispy, dipped into a tasty charred tomato and fresh mint salsa. I say dipped, but who’s kidding – each chip was laden to its maximum capacity as it conveyed the succulent veggies to my mouth (i.e, I couldn’t shovel ’em in fast enough.) Ditto for the guacamole, which is to be made fresh for every individual order. It was the freshest, creamiest guac I’ve ever had, and if I never ate another thing again, I’d be happy.
As a veg head (full-time vegetarian with vegan tendencies), I couldn’t partake of the shredded chicken tacos and pork tacos with delicate shreds of red cabbage, and pickled onion. Instead, I got into the large jar of house-made pickled mushrooms that sat on our table. I tried them as a topping with the nachos and the only thing that stopped me from hoovering the whole thing was the introduction of vegetarian tacos to our table.
A vegetarian taco with crispy cauliflower, sprouts and feta with a drizzle of one of Chef Manny’s signature sauces (this one avocado-based) made the rounds, and the consensus around the room was that this might be one of the best. The chef apologized that he was not able to provide the made-from-scratch tortillas that night, and promised all the tacos would be even better upon opening. Well, that pretty much sent the room into a frenzy. I literally can’t wait until opening so I can try the improved version of something that was perfection already.
It would be a crying shame not to mention the drinks that were circulating throughout the evening. The name of the restaurant is an homage to the very special variety of tequila called “mezcal” which gets its smoky flavour from the process of roasting it underground. Ramo is an expert in bartending, and took great care in explaining each cocktail and wine choice. We were treated to spicy cocktails that went perfectly with the robust fresh flavours of the food, like the “Mezcaliente” made with tequila, muddled cucumbers, jalapenos, lemon juice and agave, and margueritas of varying degrees of sweetness and spiciness.
I’ll be first in line on opening day, and a regular after that, and I don’t think I’ll be alone. With its unbelievable food and drinks, and cool vibe, this place is destined to be packed consistently. See you there!