Sunday, February 7, 2010

Best Ever Mexican Restaurant

What kind of Mexican restaurant warns you ahead of time that there are no burritos or tacos on the menu?  Probably the best Mexican restaurant in the country.   It's only the first of many surprises that await you.   Located in a strip mall in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, this small non-descript restaurant presents an incredibly surprising (pleasantly) dining experience. 

From the wine based margaritas to the knowledgable and enthusiastic staff, it's a consistently impressive evening.  Normally we review dishes, and not restaurants, but this is an exception, with so many incredible dishes we just can't pick one.

What: Eduardo de San Angel Restaurant

Why it's the Best:  From the moment you enter and see the walls endlessly covered with awards, you know that you are in for something special.   It's a paradigm shift, it takes a while for your mind to register what's going on, because it probably nothing like you'd expect, and/or have experienced previously.

If you read the reviews on Eduardo's, you'll hear a consistent theme that it's not the "typical" Mexican restaurant.  Some folks refer to it as international cuisine with a Mexican influence, or high-end Mexican cuisine.  Whatever you call it, it's awesome!   

Some of our favorites;
  • Appetizers -  Grilled Sliced Eggplant Roulade Au Gratin, Gulf Shrimp Ceviche, Roasted Poblano Peppers Filled with Florida Blue Crab and the Black Bean soup.
  • Entrees - Ancho Chile Flavored Crepe filled with Cuitlachoche (blue corn fungus), Serano Chiles and onions with melted Asadero cheese and a Squash blossom sauce,  Trio of Colorado Lamb Chops and Key Lime Oil Brushed Loin of Yellow Fin Tuna are all amazing.
Make sure to start with a margarita or house special sangria.

Equally impressive is the staff and the service.  They are as knowledgable about the food, the preparation and why all the ingredients work, as any you'll ever meet.  The staff are professionals.  It is clear that this is, and has been, their passion and occupation.  Similar to high performance cars requiring highly skilled mechanics, they are essential to the experience. 

How We Know:  Well, it could be all the awards (Zagat gave it two "extraordinay to perfection" ratings), or the raves of hundreds of diners, but the thing we think says it best, is a comment that a server mentioned to us during our last visit with friends.  

As we were raving about the food (again) we asked if chef/owner Eduardo Pria ever considered opening other restaurants in other cities (as in please come to DC) and the waiter said he had many offers to do so, but didn't, because he believes it is necessary and important that he be physically present in the kitchen. 

In a time when celebrity chefs are opening multiple locations within a city and/or cities, here's one chef who still believes he has to be in the kitchen.   So for now, you have to go to Eduardo's place because he's not coming to you.

Craving Level:  Weekly

Direction and reviews:  Tripadvisor, Zagats, Google

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