Sunday, June 30, 2013

Macelleria Roma

We were passing through Mexico City over a week ago, enroute to the U.S. We arrived in Colonia Roma Norte and after settling into our hotel, headed to Macelleria Roma, of which I'd only recently learned of on the spicy, saucy, irreverent restaurant blog, Sin Mantel.

Macelleria occupies the space of the former restaurant Travazares, at Orizaba #127, Roma Norte. It's easy to find, a couple of blocks south of Av. Álvaro Obregón and still a block north of Plaza Luis Cabrera (think fountains). If you are familiar with Parrilla y Canilla in Morelia , you may feel at home at Macelleria, although the vibe is much more casual and the prices somewhat lower at the latter.

While the dominant theme at Macelleria is Italian, the name means "carnicería" in Italian, and grilled meat cuts are among its specialties, other than pastas and pizzas. (I was going to write"wood-fired oven", but I'm not certain of that. In one photo I can see a domed oven, but I don't know if it's wood fired.)

During the week, they offer a nicely balanced menú del día for $140 pesos, including a refresco or limonada. There's an option of a glass of house wine for $40 pesos. We chose to order a la carte.

Partial menus
The ambiance is casual, and I just read that the space was designed and constructed using recycled materials whenever possible. This is evident in the unfinished ceilings.

Bar area

Our waitress brought us hot bruschetta and a small bowl of sweet potato and beet chips, made on the premises. They were surprisingly addictive. There was also a dish of spiced butter in a pool of olive oil to dab on a plump round of warm bread.

Doña Cuevas selected a Trío de Brochetas, which combined shrimp, arrachera and chicken on three generous skewers, and a salad of beet, arugula, avocado, goat cheese and candied walnuts.

I had a Ribeye steak. We are often hungry for good beef, so this was my first opportunity in a while. It was not too thick a cut, but it was well seasoned with cracked black pepper and nicely cooked. The steak came with a cup of fresh cut and seasoned Papas Francesas.

Steak Frites, spicy sauce
For dessert, I felt compelled to have the Pastel de Tres Leches, along with an espresso. The cake was mildly disappointing. The cut out rounds of sponge cake were not what I was expecting. I might on our next visit try the Crumble de Manzana, apple crisp with a Spanish name. The espresso was decent, in my humble estimation.

Pastel Tres Leches.

Food: ****

Service: ****1/2

Ambience: Recycled cool, relaxed

Price: $$$+ 
La Cuenta: CLICK

Location: Calle Orizaba # 127, Colonia Roma Norte, México, D.F.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

El Primer Piso, Pátzcuaro

Sunday, June 9, 2013, we joined a friend at the Restaurant El Primer Piso, on the Plaza Grande  in Pátzcuaro. We last had eaten there in late September, 2005, when we were moving into the area. There have been numerous changes in Pátzcuaro over time, but some things stay the same.

El Primer Piso has hardly changed in eight years, other than a recent move to a new close by location on the Plaza. The menu is almost identical to what was offered in 2005. The new dining room is lighter and more pleasant, with food related mottoes painted on the walls.

Our waitress brought us a basket of bread. Although the bread was unheated and ordinary, the accompanying herb butter was good.

We ordered glasses of wine, at about $50 pesos the glass. There were two reds and two whites, all of them the usual players from the Costco bargain wine shelves.

As the day was windy and rainy, I started my meal with a bowl of Sopa Tarasca. This bean or tomato based soup, invented by a local restaurateur, is a good indicator of a restaurant's overall quality. The Primer Piso version received good marks. Besides the classic garnishes of toasted chile pasilla, fried tortilla strips and crema, this came with slices of avocado. I would fault it only for its acidic edge.

Our companion, Ron, chose two appetizers for his meal. The first was a   sleeper: Calabacitas con Almendras y Queso. He shared it with us and it was perfectly made. Fresh láminas of zucchini, sauteed briefly and dressed with almonds and aged cheese.

His second appetizer, Chile Relleno de Camarones, was substantial enough to be a main course. The chile was a dried and rehydrated one, filled with a seasoned bread crumb and shrimp mixture. We agreed that despite the dramatic, even scary appearance of the chile, the filling was dull. The shrimp were lost in the bread crumbs.

Sra. Cuevas reprised the same dish I'd had eight years previously: Pescado en Salsa Negra. The fish is served in a slightly piquant, sweet and sour sauce. It's a pleasant dish, but again, one where a dramatically dark appearance takes precedence over dramatic flavor.

Just for something totally different and unlike my usual preferences, I chose Pollo Hindú. It was a large, tender, boneless chicken breast in a very mild, curry flavored cream sauce. The sauce had ground cashews in it, which added little to the whole. Overall, the dish was nice, but unexciting. The home made chutney on the sides was a very nice touch.  Note: I set the little dried chile aside.

The exceptional dishes of our meal were the Sopa Tarasca and the Calabacitas. The others were good but did not fulfill our hopes. Over all, though, a nice change from the mole/enchiladas/arrachera type menus so common in restaurants here.

After perusing the short dessert list, we decided against having any. For after dinner coffee and hot chocolate, we went instead to another, street level coffee house across the Plaza, where my companions enjoyed a homemade brownie and a generous slice of pastel de mil hojas.

Food: ***

Service: ****

Price: $$-$$$

Ambience: Colonial with a view

Restroom: O.k.

East side of Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, Centro, Pátzcuaro, over the Once Pizzas restaurant..

Opens at 2:p.m. Sorry, I don't know which days it's open, although I suspect every day.