Monday, October 27, 2008

Los Rosales

In America, most Mexican cuisine has been reduced to order-by-number restaurants, cheese-smothered everything (nothing wrong with that by the way), 4th Meals, or as my friend Olaf used to say - "The Same Seven Ingredients ANY WAY YOU WANT IT!"

Mexican food has been the last thing Wendy wants with one exception: Taco Bell soft tacos, no cheese, add tomatoes (usually from home), with Valentina or Mild Taco Bell Sauce. Though she's no longer the dairy-phobic eater she once was, the limited varieties of most Mexican restaurants offer nothing exciting enough to make them our dining destination. Despite this, I've guilt-tripped Wendy into trying out local spots along Nolensville road - a converted pizza hut (still in "hut" shape) now called Las Chivas and a place in Brentwood called Las Palmas. Both were disappointments that ended with Wendy swearing off future experiments.

Wendy here, I'm taking over the post. I can't say I like the fact that Mark outed me on my Taco Bell indulgences...Hey, we live right beside the Taco Bell. & besides, Speidi likes it.

Inwardly chanting, "We are not worthless, we are not worthless."

When we pulled into the parking lot of Los Rosales, I told Mark that this may well be the very last time I agree to eating at a Mexican restaurant. I was encouraged by a great review over at Lesley Eats. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was so excited that I wanted to call up Amanda Yarbro-Dill and tell her that I finally am able to eat Mexican food that's not prepared in my own kitchen. We didn't take pictures that first visit, but I wish I had. I ordered a steak and pinto bean dish that had these lovely pearl onions in it. Mark got a shrimp dish with avocado sauce. When attempting to cut the shrimp, he accidentally slung it on his shirt. Luckily, he had an extra shirt in his car, so he went out and changed. When he returned to our table, his shirt was unbuttoned three buttons. It was very cute.

The next visit, we got the queso fundido.

Now I'm not one to eat cheese dip, but this stuff is superb. Sometimes we get it without the chirizo and it's just as good. Their tortillas and tortilla chips are housemade and can't be beat.

Everything we've ordered there is really spectacular and the service is always top-notch, which is something I've never experienced in the Mexican restaurants we've visited in the past. The owner, Carlos Moncayo, is always present and is really sweet.

He once sent us a flaming mango for dessert. It was something he was trying out and wanted to get our opinion.
Our favorite dish so far has been the Filets Montes:

Not so photogenic, but really, really good. Usually Mark and I split it.

However, this last visit may have been our most successful. I got spinach enchiladas:

Mark ordered the Great Melee, or that's what he thinks it was called. It was absolutely stellar...

scallops, clams, octopus, shrimp and this wonderful tilapia - all of it grilled. It came with a really subtle, darkly-sweet sauce with a rich seafood stock base which Carlos explained was made with 8 types of seafood, including calamari. The sauce was great because it didn't overpower the seafood, but instead accented it.

Other highlights:

Veggie Fajitas

Cactus Soup

Also, Carlos is the owner of Ibiza Night Club on Old Hickory in Nashville.


Amanda said...

Dude, this Mexican food looks bitchin. Personally, I have a) an obsession with fish tacos and b) a new desire to make tamales at home.

B Dill forces me to eat Mexican once a week because his miserly heart considers the free chips a real selling point. Also, we once sent back some queso fundido in a restaurant in M'boro and made the manager incredibly pissy. It had a whole bunch of orange grease floating on top!

I'm so proud that you're feasting on white cheese now. Although, I have to admit, I don't know why. It's like the satisfaction that omnivores feel when vegheads come over to their meat-eating ways.


P.S. E-mail forthcoming.

Lesley said...

Bad news! Los Rosales is closed temporarily. I am disappointed that I was not alerted to this in advance in order to get another bite of that avocado sauce at the very least. The sign on the door says it will re-open January 12. January! As in, next year! So, yeah, I'm dusting off the enchilada pan now. I refuse to go to Casa Palmas de Mayo blah blah. Blech.