Merotoro

Hipódromo, La Condesa, Mexico City

Modelo Negra

  • Ambience 85%
  • Service 85%
  • Food 90%
  • Creativity 85%
  • Value 85%

Modelo Negra

St Regis Hotel - Mexico City

Samsung

Restaurant Details
Merotoro
Locale: Hipódromo, La Condesa, Mexico City
Address: Calle Amsterdam 204
Telephone: +52 55 5564 7799
Restaurant Type: Upscale Casual
Cuisine: Gourmet Mexican
Service Type: Table Service
Price: $$$$
Menu items offered: Ceviche - Aquachile, Coffee, Desserts, Espresso, Grilled Steaks, Rice - Risotto, Salads, Seafood, Soups
Hours:
Mon-Sat: 1:30pm to 11pm, Sun: 1:30pm to 6pm,

Review Summary
Meroto's minimalist, yet warm and inviting ambiance, superb execution of modern Mexican fusion, and first-class service deserve praise. The dark and murky appearance of most the dishes belies the beauty that lies beneath that dark shroud.

The full review for Merotoro

Review by: Ollie O Rating: 4.3 stars Review Date: 09/21/2015

It was the week preceding the Awards ceremony for the Restaurant Magazine list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America being held in Mexico City and I, by coincidence, was in town to obtain content for our Mexico City preview. I was invited to have dinner during my trip to Mexico City with my friends from Santiago, Chile, who are the owners, chef (Carolina Bazán), and sommelier of Ambrosía and Ambrosía Bistro in Santiago, Chile, which we believe are both among the top 25 restaurants in Latin America.

This was an excellent opportunity to put the menu of Chef Jair Tellez to the test. And I had some diners with pretty good palettes covering my backside on this review. Chef Bazán and I each tasted every appetizer course and main course and compared notes.

But before I describe our impressions of the food, let me describe the decór. The restaurant is one very large room with a large sliding glass door spanning the width of the front of the restaurant that during pleasant weather is pulled fully open to create an open-air atmosphere in the dining area.

One wall of the restaurant is paneled in roughly-hewn railroad ties that are then polished to create a unique, rustic, yet oddly, elegant appearance. The tables and chairs are all heavy natural wood. None of the flimsy, modern aluminum or plastic furnishings we see at so many restaurants. But all this neutral canvas is then splashed with color from immense murals lining the facing wall. This all gives the restaurant a warm and comfortable feel.

All that earthy personality of the room somehow found its way into Chef Tellez’s cuisine. Most everything on the menu is dark, spicy and mysterious. The rather murky appearance of each dish belies the rich and flavorful taste hidden below that shroud. The beauty of the food lies in its impact.

Don’t expect to see violet flower petals placed fastidiously around the plate by chefs with chopsticks and tweezers at the pass. The only chopsticks in Tellez’s kitchen are the discarded one’s from the take-out Chinese the cooks had at their short lunch break before beginning prep for the evening service.

For the first course, Carolina and I shared the octopus and fish tostado topped with avocado and microgreens (the seafood topping was cooked in and accompanied by vinaigrette de pata de res (cow’s foot vinaigrette). Yes … I know … It doesn’t sound so appetizing, but take my word for it, this is the best tostado you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Just the perfect amount of heat, leaving just a slight tingling after I devoured it.

The table shared a warm salad of wild greens and sea asparagus with bits of grilled octopus, blood sausage and two of the sweetest green onions I’ve ever tasted. Delicious.

Next up was a ceviche with avocados, poblano peppers, slices of sweet onions and radishes. This dish was a bit “murky” in appearance, nothing like the light and colorful ceviche I’m accustomed to. But the taste was quite good. The perfect amount of acidity.

The fourth appetizer we shared was my favorite of the first four courses. It was wild black rice with bits of octopus and shrimp in a smoky, chili sauce, topped with microgreens. The gravy-like sauce in which the seafood was cooked was complex and rich. And the al dente texture of the black rice was the perfect foil.

Finally we had the Quijada de Ibérico Cerdo (pork cheeks) accompanied by a poached egg. Just as delicious as the other appetizers.

For the main course, two of my dining companions had the pan seared chicken breast with broccoli puree and sautéed broccoli and sugar-snap peas (snow peas). It was very good but probably the most run of the mill plate of all the main courses at the table.

I had the red snapper (huachinango) roasted and bathed in a delicious fish and mushroom broth. The skin of the fish was crisp and the flaky white flesh was cooked absolutely perfectly. This was an excellent fish course.

Chef Bazán had the duck breast, oven-roasted, with mushrooms, wild mustard leaves and minutina (an heirloom herb, also known as herba Stella, staghorn, or Buckhorn’s plantain). The duck was just slightly overcooked although still quite juicy and the broth on which the duck was served was ridiculously complex and delicious. Very, very tasty.

The final main course was beef tongue, braised and then grilled, sitting in a rich and flavorful bean base, topped with a fresh “martajada” sauce and garnished with micro greens and radishes. The meat was tender. Perfectly cooked. And the flavor from the beans and salsa were truly unique.

The table then shared two desserts. A Mexican granizado flavored with the petals of the Hibiscus flower, and accompanied by an orange and mezcal flavored sorbet with a gourmet salt flavored with dried worms. (I note that the use of worms, larvae, and insects in indigenous Aztec recipes is quite common and has gained recent favor among Chefs in Mexico.) The shaved ice was fresh, and delicious but I personally did not like the strongly flavored salt as a complement. However, Chef Bazán liked the added salt as complement in the dessert.

The second dessert was the Volcán de Avellana, a muffin-like pastry surrounding a creamy hazelnut filling, with “nata” ice cream and a caramelized banana (sort of a Mexican style Bananas-Foster).

The desserts were good but in my not so humble opinion, not up to the high level that Chef Tellez offered in his savory appetizers and main courses.

The food, outstanding as it was, was equaled by what I thought was stellar service in a dining room that although somewhat stark and minimalist, uses those heavy materials and dark colors I described to impart a contrasting warmth. This place is comfortable. It makes you want to sit and have another margarita.

Chef Tellez is hospitable, approaching and sharing conversation with customers in the dining room, and a few shots of mezcal with our table.

This was an enjoyable and informative evening. I saw and tasted a fusion of traditional European style with influences from both the Yucatan and Baja peninsulas. Merotoro should be at the top of any diner’s “must go” list in Mexico City.


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