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Mezcal-New Haven

Just dropped by to report on my first and last visit here last night. I am not going to argue the fine points of authenticity-I personally don't care about that-being mainly interested in whether or not the food tastes good.
Here the food was just abysmal. Everything was under seasoned except the salsa's
(served with thick fried flour tortilla wedges), which were overly hot. Guacamole was pre-prepared-ice cold and starting to turn olive colored. It was also full of cubed tomatoes, very unappetizing. Pico was without lime and salt-just straight up veggies.
My Pork Carnitas were made from pork that had been roasted, refrigerated and reheated. No seasoning could be discerned on the meat, it was dry,stringy and it tasted gamey. Alongside the meat were rice and refried beans, again no seasoning
(no onions/cilantro/garlic/cheese/oregano/peppers,etc on/in any of it).
Mom had chicken fajitas-made from pre-stewed (soup remains?) chunked chicken. It was sodden, stringy and totally without any spices or herbs. The chunks of mostly brown meat were mixed with onions and peppers and set upon a sizzle platter. No marinating, no grilling,no accoutrements (i.e.-lime,onions,olives,cheese,lettuce,tomatoes,guacamole).
We couldn't get out of there quick enough.
Sorry to be so negative-I had high hopes for the place, but honestly can't find any redeeming attributes to recommend it.

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  1. Sorry that you had such a bad meal. Ours (last Friday) was hit and miss but surprisingly hit. Our carnitas, for example, were highly spiced, alternately crispy and soft, and truly delicious -- comparable to some of the best I have eaten in places better known for carnitas than New Haven. We also loved our pollo entomatado with its surprising depth of flavor, as well as our pollo con pipian -- the pumpkin seed sauce was the hit of the table and inspired everyone to try to spoon it up as quickly as possible. The ceviche and taquitos we ordered were mediocre, as was the shredded steak-and-egg dish whose name I don't remember. The liberal use of bland chopped tomatoes in the ceviche reminded me that tomatoes should only ever be eaten in season. I was thrilled at the spice level in the salsa and with the warm, oily and salty homemade tortilla chips. We also did not have the problem of un-fresh guacamole. The room was packed on a Friday night. So pleased that a better-than-decent Mexican place has opened -- and in our neighborhood!

    1. Wow! I'm really sorry you didn't care for your meal. I have eaten there several times since they opened and just love it. After moving here from Texas a few years ago, I have sorely missed high quality Mexican food- but New Haven has it now!. At Mezcal, I have had only fresh guacamole and every dish I've had is delicious- with more than generous portions. Each time I've gone, I've been in a group and we all are ecstatic about each dish. I keep returning to the shrimp, cooked perfectly with peppers and garlic. The tortillas chips are freshly made, with three fresh salsas. I had the mole last week and was blown away. I should write down the dishes I've had and comment more- but I don't usually submit reviews of restaurants. Upon doing an online search for Mezcal, I came across this review and need to pass along to people how great Mezcal is. Also, the waitstaff and owner/chef are lovely. Lots of people LOVE it.

      1. For decent Mexican, you really need to head much further down Chapel Street to Guadalupe La Poblanita, in Fair Haven. It's not Tex-Mex, but it is delicious. Try their Mole, Chiles Rellenos, and Tamales.

        1 Reply
        1. re: surrys

          Guadalupe is great, but $3 for a tamale? Come on.

        2. There is a review of Mezcal and two other Mexican places nearby in the issue of the New Haven Advocate which just came out today. (Not yet posted on their website.)

          The reviewer was approving of the large portions and the variety of unusual dishes on the menu. Note, they don't have a liquor license, so it is BYOB.

          1. Mezcal will be getting their liquor license soon, it's pending. I wish the Advocate mentioned this. I can't wait to have another margarita option in New Haven!

            1. My experience with Mezcal, in New Haven, is the direct opposite! I've been there three times, once in the middle of the afternoon, and a couple of times in the evening. Each time it has been superb! I grew up in Mexico, so I'm sensitive to it being authentic (I think it is), but beyond that, the food has been delicious. My guacamole, spiced just right, has been fresh tasty. I agree the tortillas, with a batch served next to every dish, are super. My brother had a mole that was "para chuparse los dedos", and the chicken-vegetable soup was perfect, with a little dish of limes and chopped onions on the side, as if I'd been served it in a market in Mexico. Pollo pipian (sunflower seed sauce) was wonderful, full of spice, aroma, and a wonderful, sweet and spicy sauce...I'll be back again and again. They still don't have a liquor license, but there's a little liquor store a block away with a good collection of beer! Salud!

              1. Mezcal has their liquor license now!

                1. I'm sort of loathe to trust food advice from someone who calls himself "cannedpoo." I've eaten some of the best Mexican food I've ever had at Mezcal -- Mama Guda's chicken is mind-blowingly good, and chicken a la pipian comes in a close second.

                  I think some people are likely to be disappointed at Mezcal because they expect Americanized Tex-Mex cooking when they go out for Mexican. Mezcal serves food more typical of central Mexico, and it's simply a different cuisine. If you're expecting fajitas to arrive on a sizzling platter loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. you're not going to find it here.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: edcro

                    While I agree with not taking someone too seriously that has that name for a moniker, I/we found the food average (and a name isn't everything). http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44637...
                    This was from our visit Monday night. FWIW, I was still belching my dinner the next day. Mr./Miss Poo also has some credibilty, too. They have many posting here and you have one (?).
                    I disagree with Poo's assesment of the salsas; on our visit, neither were "hot". I did find the hotter, dark roasted pepper salsa to be very tasty. It is hard to know what poop-head (excuse me, Poo) is used to or expecting; CP did not say; only that it was bland. Some criticism is misplaced, seeing that it is supposed to be representative of "authentic" Mexican. On the other hand the menu and the results seem to be quite a mix regarding authenticity.
                    I see no excuse for cold, brown guacomole. Would CP lie about that, even if CP doesn't know a tamale from a hole in the ground? Consistency in both preparation and quality is very important.
                    Having said that, I think some dishes can and should be subtle, and I'm sure some of the dishes are/can be good, but based on what we experienced, I think we can do better (and I'm not talking Tex-Mex).