Wednesday, January 22, 2014

La Biznaga Oaxaca: Beautiful Food and Full Flavors.

La Biznaga
We had long avoided dining at La Biznaga because of its reputation for eccentricity, inconsistency and service issues. But, an expat friend convinced us to give it a try. Sra. Cuevas, our friend and I were pleased with everything we had. There was only one, minor service issue. Overall, La Biznaga exceeded our expectations.

I can sum up La Biznaga in a couple of phrases: Beautiful Food and Full Flavors.

La Biznaga Salsa Macha

Above photo, the house Salsa Macha, an intense but flavorful composition of fried peanuts, chiles, garlic and sesame seeds. I have had a similar salsa at a menudería in Pátzcuaro, but the one at La Biznaga is particularly well balanced.

The food was beautifully presented, generously portioned as well as delicious. We stayed pretty much with the more economical Deli menus.
We deliberately ordered a meal that was almost "Todos hongos" (all fungi.).

Of course, we liked some dishes more than others, but everything was pleasing.

The outstanding items were the Tostadas de Marlin Ahumado, (smoked marlin tostadas) a favorite appetizer of ours elsewhere, but at La Biznaga made lighter with al diente morsels of corn kernels yet still flavorful, and garnished with berros (watercress).

Tostadas de Marlin Ahumado
Also notable were the Tostadas de Ceviche de Hongos, (wild mushrooms in a lime juice marinade) a perfectly made, light, citrus tangy dish. I will say that the hongos seemed more like cultivated champiñones, but that did not deter us from eating every crisp morsel.

Tostadas de Ceviche de Hongos
I was less fond of the Quesadilla de Huitlacoche (black corn smut) and the Quesadilla de Champiñones a la Hierba Santa. Not bad, understand, just not as resonant as the two tostada appetizers we'd shared.

Quesadillas de Huitlacoche
After the appetizers, two of us moved on to soups. Our expat friend ordered Sopa del Establo, (Crema de Roquefort al Chipotle con Pistaches y Pepitas.) This soup was a tour de force. Every ingredient was in perfect balance and the dish was a treat for the eyes as well.

Sopa del Establo

I had Menudo de Setas (another mushroom dish!), an intense, dark, chile infused broth generously loaded with wild mushrooms. Very good, but too intense for me to finish the picante broth.

Menudo de Setas

After a pause, we wanted to look over the desserts and coffee, but our waiter was absent. Instead, a less well informed busboy came to our table, and when we asked for a dessert menu, he told us that there was none. That is literally true, but there is a list of desserts in the main printed menu! This struck me as unhelpful and uncooperative, but our friend, fluent in Spanish, persuaded him to release the menus for our inspection.

We decided on two desserts for the three of us, "Oscuridad" ("blackout"?), a chocolate truffle cake and "Susto" (a "fright"), a coconut flan. Unfortunately, the last was not available, so we ordered two Oscuridades. It was a very good chocolate dessert, although the cake base was somewhat coarsely textured, the overall effect was good and we had no trouble finishing it.

We'd also had had three cervezas (there is a wonderful, extensive cerveza list, as well as mezcales), and finished with excellent coffee served in warm earth tone cups. Our bill came in at $642 pesos Mexicanos (about $48.50 U.S.), so average per person was $214, or roughly $16.25 U.S. A remarkable price for such quality.

Of course, if we had ordered platos fuertes (main dishes), the total would have been considerably more. I gave a menu photo a once over look, and the most expensive item I found is "Zicatela", a shrimp dish, at $243 pesos.

The decor is attractive and creative, leaning toward the pleasantly quirky and folk arty (as is the food!). La Biznaga is a delight to the eyes as well as the palate. If they would only lower the volume of the music a little. (But they won't.)


Food: ****+

Service: ***+

Price: $$-$$$ 

Ambience: Casual, patio dining with light folk art.

Key words: "We do it our way."

Location: Calle de Manuel García Vigil 512, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca 

01 951 516 1800 ‎ ·


1 comment:

jennifer rose said...

Oscuridad and Susto sound frightening.