[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ole in the wall Mexican restaurants abound in DC. Though when describing those types of establishments “Mexican” might be a bit of a misnomer. Most often the restaurants fit more appropriately in the “Tex-Mex” category. So where do you go if you want authentic Mexican flavors cooked with high end technique? You should try Rosa Mexicano. All of their dishes are true to their authentic roots.
I recently attended Rosa Mexicano’s Fall Harvest Dinner. The special menu for this dinner was developed by one of their culinary advisors, Jonathan Waxman of Top Chef Masters fame and chef-owner of Barbuto in NYC.
The meal was served family style and began with a passed platter of Roasted Pork Flautas. They had a nice crispy texture and tasted like they just came out of the fryer. Accompanying the dish was a spicy pineapple salsa. The sweetness of the pineapple worked really well with the savory pork.
Next we were given a ceviche that consisted of razor clams, bay scallops, pink grapefruit, mint, habanero, lemon zest and ginger. The razor clams were brought in from the west coast. If you have never had them before, they are a bit sweeter than the average clam. It was citrusy delicious dish, with mint as an interesting addition. Mint is not a typical ceviche ingredient but it worked very well with the other flavors. I hope they add this to the regular menu.
I would highly recommend ordering the guacamole when you visit. It is prepared table side which gives you the opportunity to request the guacamole the way you like it. Do you like a lot of lime in your guacamole? No problem. How spicy would you like it? Some people don’t like cilantro, so if you fall in that camp you can ask them not to add it. And of course it doesn’t get any fresher than having guacamole that was made a minute before you eat it.
At the Fall Harvest Dinner they made the Guacamole with a seasonal twist. They added toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds and used Meyer lemon as the citrus instead of lime. It was outstanding.
After the guacamole, they served one of my favorite dishes of the meal; the Grilled Lobster & Sea Scallop Taco. Wow! The lobster was perfectly cooked and lay atop the tortilla in big succulent chunks. It had a slaw on it that offered a little bit of a kick from the lime juice and jalapenos. Toasted pumpkin seeds were sprinkled on the tacos to give them a little bit of a crunch. Rich and decadent, it was a very satisfying taco.
[pullquote align=”right”] The meat fell right off the bone. [/pullquote] Chef next showed off his talents with an amazing entrée. It was a Lavender, Black Pepper and Honey Marinated Duck served two ways. The first way was a tender breast that was served sliced and still quite juicy inside. Apples and pears were the fall fruits accompanying it as well as a duck mole. Moles are difficult and complex sauces in authentic Mexican cuisine, often made with a dozen or so ingredients. The mole served with the duck was impressive. It was rich and spicy with a hint of sweetness. You could taste just a touch of chocolate in it. The second way was Braised Duck Legs. The legs were coated in a serrano sage butter. The meat fell right off the bone. It was very tender and rich and the skin on the legs had a great texture and flavor reminiscent of a holiday feast.
The meal finished with a Pumpkin Cheesecake and Roasted apple Ice Cream. The sweetness was accented with a hint of sea salt. Crumbles of peanut-sesame brittle were strewn about the plate. On top of the cheesecake was a miniature caramel candy apple. The cheesecake itself was light and fluffy. I really enjoyed all of the components, especially when arranging a bite that had a little bit of everything. It was a solid ending to a fantastic meal.
I will also mention that the bar at Rosa Mexicano has a very impressive collection of Tequila and Mezcal and some of the best margaritas in the city. The restaurant has several locations in the DC area and nationwide, all of which are beautiful. It’s an ideal spot for a date or just to have a great dinner.
– Happy eating!