Shameless alliteration aside, this cantina is another gem in this up and coming neighborhood. It’s bright and fun; you’ll find the place filled in the evenings with laughing, happy people enjoying themselves with a margarita or other cocktail.
At the heart of the operation is its chef and owner Julian Medina, a critically acclaimed chef in New York City with about a half dozen other restaurants under his belt. The man’s an artist, creating each dish with complex flavors, simultaneously displaying the humble origins of many Mexican dishes. Now the center piece of one of the dishes here is not actually crickets. It’s chapulines. Which is Spanish for grasshoppers.
If you’ve read my other articles you could probably already tell that bizarre foods are kind of my thing.
The use of grasshoppers in Mexican cuisine goes back to the days of the Aztecs, before the arrival of Hernán Cortés and the Spanish in 1519. Insects, studies have shown, were the main source of protein in an Aztec’s diet. These days insects have become an oddity to some, a delicacy to others. Medina in this restaurant prepares them simply: a quick roast, and placed in a tortilla with guacamole, jalapeños, tomatillo salsa, onion, and cilantro. A quick bit of lime and you’re in for an experience. The grasshoppers, as one would expect, are crunchy; they’re savory, and another flavor that I can only describe as smoky. I really do recommend them. You might just find a new favorite meal.