August 24, 2008

Miami Spice: Rosa Mexicano

During the annual Miami Spice event, the restaurants considered Miami's best offer three-course meals (lunch for $23, dinner for $36) featuring signature dishes by the chefs. My first Miami Spice event was lunch at Rosa Mexicano, a restaurant in Mary Brickell Village. Rosa Mexicana has eight locations throughout the U.S. with three more being added in the next year. It's upscale Mexican food a la P.F. Chang's with food that is much more memorable.

I was happy that my new co-workers asked me to join them for lunch! At Rosa, the Miami Spice menu offers three appetizers.

Guacamole en Moicajete, which is for two or more, is made tableside. It's fun to watch and while it might be a little gimmicky, it was -- hands down -- the best guacamole I have ever tasted, and I have eaten a lot of guacamole! Fortunately, I was watching it being prepared and spotted the cilantro in time to ask that it not be included in one of the orders. It was simple as could be which might be the secret to guacamole. I think it's harder to recreate this at home only because unless that's all you are making, it has to sit for at least a few minutes, which detracts from the overall flavor. I know this serving was for two but the only thing keeping me from not eating it all myself was the other food to come. Oh, and the fact that I didn't want my new friends to think I am a hog. I can't wait to go back to Rosa one evening and enjoy drinks with guacamole and chips. Chances are they make a mean margarita! Okay- this was just the first in a trio of surprisingly good appetizers.

Sopa de Tortilla - Pasilla chile soup with grilled chicken, avocado, shredded cheese, crema and crispy tortilla chips. Ask for spicy!

Flautas de Pollo - Rolled crispy chicken tacos topped with salsa pasilla de Oaxaca, salsa verde and sour cream. Very tasty!

The main dishes were Ensalada de la Calle which is Mexico City street salad with grilled chopped chicken tossed with mango, pineapple, jicama and toasted pumpkin seeds with honey-lime vinagrette. Sounds good, but no one in our party ordered it.

Salmon en Manchamanteles- Grilled organic salmon over black beans with zucchini and roasted corn mole of ancho chilies and tropical fruits. Everything was just fresh and simple. I tasted this dish, and loved it- the flavors all complimented each other and the fruit made it even better.  I love fruit in savory dishes, but I never use it in cooking at home.  Maybe I should start.

Enchiladas Suizas- Two soft corn tortillas filled with pulled roasted chicken, topped with a creamy tomatillo sauce and queso fresco. A few ordered this, including me, and it was amazing. The chicken was fresh and tender, the corn tortillas gave the dish the perfect flavor and the sauce was very good. The only thing I didn't like about the dish was the gratuitous cilantro on top. None of my dining companions minded it- except for Q (she who knows everything) who said she didn't like it either.

Dessert! This is the Pastel de Queso- Rich, creamy cheesecake filled with baked apple cajeta sauce. It was amazing. I think almost everyone else asked for their dessert to go, but somehow I managed to eat all of mine. The other choice for dessert was Flan- coconut flan served with toasted pineapple-vanilla sabayon. I don't think you could go wrong with either choice.

I highly recommend Rosa Mexicano for as long as the quality of food is sustained. I hope that it lasts, but my last few trips to P.F. Chang's at the Falls were highly disappointing. I think it initially went wrong with the staff (not a big surprise for a restaurant at a mall) and the lack of quality eventually trickled down to the food. I pray Rosa Mexicano will avoid that trap. I expect it will, especially if this visit was any indication.

Is it good news or bad news that Rosa is within walking distance from my new office? Will my veins soon bleed green, filled with guacamole? That remains to be seen, but for the time being, I am happy to have found this restaurant and this group of people. Co-workers who enjoy a good restaurant now and then and who were kind enough to invite me along. I don't think they minded my picture taking- if they did, they were nice enough not to say anything about it!  So thank you to them. My new job seems like the perfect fit...and the eggs.

Rosa Mexicano on Urbanspoon


Suzanne said...

After reading this I had to go pick up some fresh guacamole made at a local dive here and some great chips also made locally (Garden Fresh, which also makes excellent fresh salsa).

So what do you have against cilantro? Are you one of those people that thinks it tastes like soap? My "kryptonite" herb is tarragon. I cannot stand it.

Arties32 said...

Hi Suzanne- I am happy to have inspired a snack today!

There aren't many things I do not like, but the first time I tasted cilantro was in a dish I had at a restaurant in Israel. It tasted so badly that I had to dissect the food and ask the waitress what the little green herb was. It was cilantro. I have had it marinated in salsa and while I really just hate it, it isn't as offensive as when just sprinkled on top of food. At certain restaurants I have to remember to ask them to hold the cilantro or else I can't even eat! I wouldn't say it tastes like soap necessarily - it just tastes pungent and horrible and very distinctive. I even found a web page!


Anonymous said...

Hi Bug!! mouth is watering!! Two things: Jon and have come to loathe PF Changs. We used to love it, but we both got so sick of it. Also- the cilantro is a Steinberg thing. Jon can't stand it either. I absolutely love's one of my favorite herbs. I'm glad you're enjoying your new job. Love you tons. Leli

Anonymous said...

We have a Rosa Mexicano here in DC, and I agree - it is, hands down, the best guacamole I've ever had....

Miss you,

JB said...

Hey Leli! I love Cilantro so go figure? But this place does look a bit cheesy Sissy! Steve O and I went to PF's last night and it was the first time I was kind of disappointed in them.

Anonymous said...

I don't like cilantro either so maybe it's my side of the family! And you are the true Steinberg!