Our evening at Zacatlan has been much anticipated. My husband decided several days ago that the Cochinita Pibil was a must. As per usual, we had to order several courses and share everything.
The bone marrow with roasted corn, queso fresco and toasted brioche was an impressive start, and the Veracruz ceviche was nothing short of perfectly authentic and traditional, bursting with fresh lime, chiles, tuna, capers, avocado; I could have eaten nothing but ceviche all night.
Next we had the Vegetariano (stacks of beautiful heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, portobello, cucumber, fresh queso, in a pepita/avocado dressing so rich and bright I can safely say I’d eat it on anything). It was such a generous dish, and so beautifully composed, it could have been an entree.
The burrata with pesto, fresh grapes, melon and tomato was also quite generous, and I truly enjoyed the sweet burst of fruit with the silky cheese and briney tomatoes.
Lamb barbacoa was rich, succulent, and came with refried beans, green rice, fresh tortillas, and a chile arbol salsa that was delicious, but unneeded with richly-sauced lamb in mole Coloradito.
The Cochinita Pibil was, in our opinion, not traditional, and elevated beyond recognition. Instead of traditional pork shoulder, a pork shank was prepared, and while it was a beautiful presentation, the meat did not benefit from long, slow marination and cooking process. While it was very tender, it lacked flavor.
Traditional churros (fresh from the grease) were perfect with cajeta and coffee.
I think I was simply too full to appreciate the flourless chocolate cake (which was rich, silky and complex). I felt the chocolate mousse it was served with was out of place; didn’t add to or compliment the cake, and would have been better as a stand-alone dessert.
The service was excellent, and the dining room was comfortable, although it smelled overwhelmingly of Fabuloso, which was a charming reminder of my mother-in-law, who is not satisfied that a room is clean until she has scrubbed it from top to bottom and declares it to be “fresh, fresh!” ala the aroma of Fabuloso.
We will definitely be back. The portions are ENORMOUS, so next time we will have to restrain ourselves a bit. Or not.
Pictured from left to right
1. Bone marrow with roasted corn and queso fresco 2. Veracruz ceviche 3. Vegetariano 4. Burrata salad 5. Cochinita Pibil 6. Lamb Barbacoa 7. Churros con cajeta 8. Flourless chocolate cake 9. Tamale (side dish to the Cochinita Pibil) 10. Fresh Tortillas 11. Salsas y mas 12. Kerubiel 2016 red blend, Baja
About Gabrielle Ariceaga
Gabrielle returned to New Mexico in 2020, after spending nearly 20 years in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband, Hector, enjoy travel, fitness, and fine-dining. Gabrielle worked in the restaurant industry in New York and Portland (front of house) and loves to cook and bake.” Gabrielle used to be a professional classical singer, and is now in Talent Acquisition.