Originally posted on 10-22-08
Menu takes you to Mexico and beyond
For a true tour of the Latin palate, Mariachi Restaurant offers a widely varied cuisine — and on Friday night you can get real mariachi entertainment. Staff writer Audrey Parente recently took a friend to dinner there.
Q. How does this place rank on the authenticity scale? As a Mexican restaurant, this is the real deal — no Tex-Mex, no creative taco inventions, but the earthy blends of meat, vegetables and corn flour spiced by South of the Border kitchen wizards. Also on the menu are Mayan and Aztec spices, flavors ranging from Monterey and Brazil to Cuban, plus an Argentinean grill for two. Even the waitresses are from a variety of Latin American countries. My former co-worker Laurence Bennett chatted with Viviana from Ecuador while she attended to our every dining whim.
Q. How was the food? There’s a huge selection of appetizers and dinner entrees, and we began with pupusas, two corn gorditas with pork and cheese stuffed between, served with a cabbage salad.
Bennett went with a dish from the Yucatan, since he’s been there. He said Yucatecan (mostly Mayan) cooking is different from that of Colonial Mexico. So he got a dish called poc chuc Yucateco — several strips of pork marinated in sour orange juice, garlic, salt and pepper and roasted. It was served with a mild salsa of tomato, onion and chile peppers. You can make it “mas caliente” if you want, so Viviana brought some hot sauce.
The black beans were smothered in cheese; the fried plantains were soft. Mexican-style yellow rice was flecked with red and green peppers.
I went for something more standard, — plato Chihuahua — two cheese enchiladas and a batter-fried green poblano pepper stuffed with Mexican cheese. Mine came with refried beans and the rice.
Q. What about dessert? Neither of us finished the food, and we had enough left over for one person to have a whole meal, but we purposely quit early on the meal so we could order dessert: chocolate mousse for me, and Bennett ordered a “cajeta” — which came as a ball of vanilla ice cream coated with toasted nuts and coconut, perched on a thin, crispy cinnamon pastry circle drizzled with caramel sauce.
Q. How did you like the setting? The restaurant is in a shopping complex on Beville Road just around the corner from Nova Road, behind the Riverside Bank and almost overshadowed by a wireless telephone store. But, once inside, white tablecloths, stemware and folded cloth napkins are inviting, and the decor definitely gives a feeling you might be in Mexico.
We were seated right away and Viviana was generous with her time and attention.
Q. What did it cost? The entrees were $12.95 each. With dessert, appetizer and the Mexican beer Bennett sipped (full bar service available), the bill was $51.88, and a tip added another $10.50.
Mariachi Restaurant in the Village Plaza, 1110 Beville Road, Daytona Beach
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
THIS AND THAT: The enormous parking lot is easy-in and easy-out. A special entrance and parking spots are for wheelchair access. Major credit cards accepted.