Diners familiar with Chef Patricio Sandoval's original Mercadito restaurants in Manhattan won't recognize this far larger, seriously stylish outpost in a hip downtown Miami shopping district. But the food stays just as true to the chef's Mexico City roots.
Two words: guacamole bar. And if you're a fan of avocado stirred pure or mixed with interesting ingredients such as mole sauce, key lime or chile serranno--meet your nirvana! Keep the tortilla chips coming, too, because the triple sampler will have you addicted.
I had dinner here shortly after the restaurant opened with three friends, and we just naturally decided to order several dishes for the table to share (starting with appetizers and moving on to tacos and the skirt steak with mole enchiladas). Sharing communal dishes with the table is a popular way of dining in Miami, where Latin culture is so strong. And the dishes here are particularly conducive to sharing. It made for such a convivial evening (the Mexican beverages were absolutely delicious, too!).
Some of my favorite items on the menu:
- Fried plantains with mole poblano crema
- Tacos of every variety--el pastor, mahi mahi, carnitas, chicken, shrimp and more
- Queso fundido with baked Oaxaca and Manchego cheeses
And, natch, guacamole galore...
3252 NE 1st Ave., Miami