“If Thomas Keller, Wolfgang, Nobu, Emeril, Julia Child and James Beard had one night in Oaxaca, this is it”
We live through stories; experiences shape our minds and live in our soul. This story starts with a brilliant artisan chef who weaves together fascinating herbs, discerning spices, nuanced essences and preparations to palpitate ones heart.
The story continues as we peer into the kitchen, whose largess is grander than a 2 star Michelin kitchen. There is an uncommon sense of calm, akin to an artist’s studio. Plenty of room to think breathe and create little pieces of wonderment for the special spaces within this jewel house. The front room soars in height, opening to the sky- maybe 10 tables, the private room for 20+ is fit for a king and the small cubby café brings its own rustic flair. On with the tale.
There is a gracious host who explains the crafts and offers an artisanal local beer. Next he drops off a mess of house maize crackers and a mysterious smoky orange Canario pepper emulsion, a simple symphony of bold Oaxaca flavors. The huge chalkboard of the daily treats is more like a canvas or scroll than a menu. As a finicky diner, whose diet is mostly vegan with a bit of fish and seafood; the workarounds were curious and well thought out. My companion sought the foie gras and suckling goat.
The chef /owner, Rodolfo Castellanos Reyes, who serves most of the meals, came back to his homeland after excelling in culinary hot spots in SF like Jardinière, La Mar and Chez Papa. Upon his recommendations, my journey continues with brazen chili massaged pulpo or octopus, slow cooked for hours and sided with purselane greens, local herbs and a lively pool of CHILE COSTEÑO ADOBO. On to the Arborio risotto, specked with Poblano peppers and grapes, al dente, complex and herbaceous.
The snapper was beaded with a smooth creamy romesco, romerias and quinoa. For texture, twas like a sous vide first punch then hot grill for the finish. Lovely. All paired with a unique mezcal and a story where each libation and ingredient was born and created.
We end the journey with sumptuous sorbets, a house made cacao chocolate round with hazelnuts and a heavenly merengue atop a chilled thin textured cake. There is clearly a missive a mission and a purpose. I will learn the rest of the story as he teaches me to cook in his space this week. Oh and what would I do with the rest of the $100 bill that wasn’t spent in this sumptuous place. A cocktail and cigar? I can’t wait to see what he dreams up when the budget doubles per table.
The Oaxacan cooking class? The next morning, Rodolfo shaped my mind into the meal we were about to prepare as we roamed through the central farmers market, trading coins for spices, fishes, stories, veggies and secret herbs. His laser focus and knowledge of his tools, spices and food were just what I needed to understand that recipes are nothing and soul is all. Its time for biking, so we will just have to share the lesson another day.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.