The MexZican Gourmet: Homestyle Mexican With A Touch Of Class
|All photos by Laine Doss|
|Chef Ze Carlos Jimenez is behind the burner at The MexZican Gourmet|
Still too cold to sit at one of the outside tables, we walked inside. The small, candlelit space is painted in citrus color and decorated with Mexican folk art - tin geckos and mirrors, Frida Kahlo's portrait.The 80-seat restaurant was still lively, as we sat down to dinner.
You might recently know Ze Carlos Jimenez from his food truck, The MexZican Gourmet, but he's also consultant chef for Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita. Though he loves the food truck business, Jimenez wanted to break out of the taco box and spread some culinary wings.
When we ordered, we were disappointed to be told that they were out of guacamole. Chef Jimenez explained that his avocado shipment came unripened and when he went shopping for retail avocados, he didn't find any fruit up to snuff. We took a rain check and ordered a selection of other items.
Order a beer, wine, or michelada, sit back and relax, because it took a while for us to get hot food (good thing we ordered the ceviche, which came out instantly). Chips and salsa verde are brought to the table. While the house-made chips are wonderful, skip the salsa, which was too salty.
Tampiquena com Camarones ($18), a dish of thin sliced and grilled beef tenderloin with wild mushrooms in a red wine/chipotle sauce with shrimp and potaro gratin, tasted almost like slow cooked beef Bourguignon than Mexican, but subtle hints of Mexican spices take you back to the restaurant. A good dish for when there's a chill in the air.
Chef Jimenez told us that he'll use the restaurant's kitchen to do prep work for the truck, which will scale back to doing mostly catering events and popular food truck roundups, like Seminole Hard Rock. He also said he'll be at the restaurant every day.
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