Emiliano’s, conveniently named after Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican political figure and a key element in the peasant revolution of Mexico is a restaurant that aims to keep with its namesake’s historical background and redefine basic Mexican food into modern day classics.
Emiliano’s chefs have managed to take on quite an endeavour by trying to redefine Mexican cuisine for a modern day food scene. Sure when the Mexican cuisine is the topic of conversation, dishes like tacos and enchiladas come to mind. But here, that typical stereotype is put to bed when classic dishes are turned upside-down. The chefs have created quite a culinary experience, from the surprisingly sensual taste of crab guacamole to the intense cream heat from the lobster stuffed banana pepper, there is sure to be something new, and something familiar for everyone.
Of course don’t stop at that, grab the fish tacos, which, like everything else on the menu, have a play on textures with creamy avocado and crunchy halibut wrapped in amazing tortillas. The sopa Azteca plays heavily with savoury textures and a very flavourful broth. The most surprising dish here is the chicken mole, which has beautifully moist chicken breast covered in a luxurious cocoa sauce which coats the mouth yet does not overpower the dish. Lastly for dessert, the coffee infused mousse is incredibly decadent, featuring raspberry compote with a light coffee mousse that is topped with an incredible dolce de leche and mixed nuts. Each dish was paired with a glass of red or white wine, allowing the Mexican flavours to pair with these delicious wines. The idea behind the wine pairings was to tear down the beer and Mexican food stereotype pairing. Sure a cerveza is always a match for a plate of nachos, but when it comes to Emiliano’s distinct dishes, beer just doesn’t do it justice.
The venue is located on Notre Dame Ouest in the Old Port, offering its clients a vibrant atmosphere with a comfortable and welcoming décor. The kitchen is an open concept and the size of it is surprising. This small kitchen delivers its customers bursts of flavours. The amount of food served to media members that night was astonishing, and to think it was done on just a 6-boiler oven is crazy. Not hungry enough for a bite? Don’t worry. Emiliano’s has a diverse cocktail menu and a tequila bar! Did someone say tequila?
The chefs here have come to offer something different from the everyday Mexican menu, taking these old world recipes and familiar flavours and using new age cooking techniques to create a one of a kind experience for people, all while letting the spirit and personality of Emiliano Zapata and Mexico shine through.
By Alyssa De Rosa –mtltimes.ca & Thomas Di Donato (student chef who helped judge these dishes)