If you’ve ever been to La Tacqueria and loved their food, you will want to check out La Mezcaleria. I was invited to check out their tasting menu and I did not leave disappointed. Q was busy so I brought a friend to help me share some of the dishes.
Opened by the same owners of La Taqueria, La Mezcaleria is their leveling up of Mexican cuisine in Vancouver. Their newest venture brings great tequila, mezcal, tacos, and more into a sit-down restaurant that aims to show off authentic Mexican food.
In short La Mezcaleria is a mezcal bar and restaurant that recently opened up in the heart of east Vancouver. They are the first Mezcaleria in Canada to offer hand crafted mezcal and cocktails. Mezcal is a spirit distilled from a type of agave plant and is sort of like tequila (but at the same time way more complex).
The timing is pretty good since I am going to Mexico next week. I will be able to see if the level of food here matches what I’ll find in Mexico!
La Mezcaleria has a fantastic atmosphere and layout. There’s a lot of seating and the feeling is very communal.
There’s a nice big bar area. All seats were taken by the time we finished dinner!
Also loving the little décor elements in the restaurant.
On to the food!
The tasting menu highlights some of La Mezcaleria’s finest offerings.
We started off with some drinks. I was originally going to get the Agua Fresca del dia con piquete (spiked fruit water of the day), but changed my mind last minute to have their famous mezcal – I had the Espadin Mezcal Flight.
The Espadin Mezcal Flight is on of three mezcales flight options they are currently offering.The Espadin flight includes Fidencio Unico, Scorpion Silver, and Rey Zapoteco.
I had absolutely no clue which one was which, but tasting them was very interesting. Each one had a distinct flavour profile. They start off kind of like tequila but with scotch-like after taste. One of them had a super smokey aftertaste.
The Mezcal Flights are served with two chasers – Sangrita and Lime.
The Sangrita was really good. It reminded me of a tomato juice. Both the lime and Sangrita were really fresh tasting.
Oh btw, you’re supposed to sip the mezcal…
Another “chaser” to go with the mezcal was the ‘worm salt’.
When the server brought me the salt, he told me that this type of salt is incredibly hard to source in small quantities. I had absolutely no clue why I was supposed to chase the mezcal with it, but I came across this from Wikipedia -
Drinking MezcalThe most traditional Oaxaca way to drink mezcal is as a shot, with a side plate of fried larvae ground with chili peppers and salt and cut limes. One takes a pinch of the larvae mixture and places it on the tongue, then immediately begins to drink the shot, but slowly., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezcal
I had the order a bit wrong and tasted the salt after drinking the mezcal – regardless, the flavours of both the salt and the mezcal together were amazing! Definitely try it out and don’t be squeamish about it.
My friend drove so she went for the non-alcoholic drink – the Horchata.
To me, it tasted sort of like a chai tea. The spiciness was different, but the flavours seemed similar.While we enjoyed our drinks and worm salt, our appetizer (which was pretty much filling enough to be an entree) arrived. I’m glad we ordered the Queso Fundido, because this is seriously the dish to order when you come to La Mezcaleria.
The Queso Fundido is ‘Mezcaleria’s molten cheese fondue served in a volcanic rock molcajete’. One could have it with salsa verde or Mexican chorizo. You’d be nuts not to have the chorizo.
I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It reminded me of a fondue/bimbimbap. Mind blown!
One of the servers taught us how to eat it – we were supposed to grab a fork and mix up the entire bowl and then put it on top of some fresh tortillas.
Throw some house-made salsa sauce on top of that, wrap it up, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a taco!!
We needed one refill of the tortillas to finish off the beastly Queso Fundido. The only drawback of this dish is that it is incredibly messy and heavy. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re comfortable with getting your hands greasy and eating greasy food, this is it. This would go amazing with beer too.
The tortillas did get pretty oily before we even put any cheese on it, so it was really oily to eat. I loved it though.
The Parillada consists of grilled beef short-ribs marinated in home made pasilla chile sauce and is served with Mexican chorizo, napolitos, toreado peppers, and green onions.
I thought this dish would be eaten on its own, but the helpful co-owner of La Mezcaleria, Ignacio Arrieta (I had no clue he was the co-owner at the time!) dropped by and showed us how to eat it.
Much like the Queso Fundido, you have it with tortillas. Ignacio demonstrated to us how he would set up the taco – you lay out the short ribs (bone included) with some onions, peppers, and a bit of the pickled veges. The alternative is to lay out the taco with some chorizo and pickled veges.
It was absolutely delicious to eat. I preferred it without the tortilla, but overall this dish was cooked really well. Everything was jam packed with flavour. The short ribs were super tender. The chorizo sausage was slightly chewy, but there was such a rich salty pork chorizo taste to it that made it amazing to eat on its own.After all this, I think the staff thought that we were done. We were indeed pretty stuffed, but I was determined to try one more dish. The last dish was the Tostadas De Pato, which is ‘Fraser Valley duck confit, guava, fruit mole sauce (machamanteles), chayote squash and radish’ atop of hard tortilla shells.
I think the Tostadas De Pato will be a hit or miss with people – you’re either going to absolutely love it or hate it. The flavours are exotic and not typically what one would expect when having some duck confit.
First off, the texture of the duck was excellent. Reminiscent of pulled pork, the duck confit was super tender. The fruit mole sauce is what gives this dish its unique flavour. It is a stew of assorted meat, chili peppers,vegetables, and fruits and is called manchamanteles (table-cloth slayer) because apparently the process of simmering this blend will stain tablecloths!Throwing in the guava made this dish refreshing and savoury at the same time.
I’m glad there were only two of these on here because that’s all that were able to fit into our stomachs!
Overall, I was very impressed with La Mezcaleria. They have a fantastic menu, an excellent venue, and amazing staff. The restaurant becomes more and more energetic as the evening runs on, with plenty of people coming in to enjoy some mezcal, tequila, beer, and Mexican food. The live music that is played on certain nights must enhance this great atmosphere even more. The staff are incredibly helpful and friendly, and the chefs put out excellent food. I know I will be back in the future to try out some of their other dishes!
Disclaimer – I was invited to try out their menu and did not pay for my meal.