SMA - Moxi
Just got back from spending a few days in San Miguel de Allende. Not sure what the allure of the town is, but we did eat reasonably well.
Moxi is located in the Hotel Matilda and is in partnership with celebrated Mexican chef Enrique Olvera of Pujol fame. The hotel is sleek and modern and the understated elegance is echoed in Moxi as well. We had a choice of sitting inside or out and elected to sit outside. The weather was just about perfect and the outside tables also have a view and soothing sounds of water cascading down a rock wall, which also happens to be the infinity edge of the infinity pool. As we shortly discovered, there are a few drawbacks to sitting outside. Once dusk creeps in and darkness begins to fall, the patio lighting is pretty insufficient. Thank goodness for the cell phone flashlight app as the menu is hard to read in the the low light. Waiters also carry small flashlights and will provide them to diners when asked. The other big drawback is that the restaurant makes no distinction as to where smokers are seated, and we had periods (thankfully short, but distracting nonetheless) of cigarette smoke wafting past our tables.
The food was exceptionally good, the service not so much. We had been seated for at least 10 minutes before our waiter asked for a drink order even though he had been flitting around the patio and table. 3 of us wanted to order tequila. Rather than roll the tequila cart over for us to see what they had, our waiter just started rattling off the options. We stopped him and asked for the cart, which was less than 5 feet in back of my seat. The selection on the cart was nice and provided a good range of blancos, reposados, añejos and extra añejos. In the end we made rather pedestrian selections of Herradura and Don Julio, but we had fun looking and then passing our choices around to each other to note the differences in the 2 reposados.
The list of starters is long and between the 7 of us we only selected 3 of them, all of which proved to be outstanding.
There was an heirloom tomato salad with feta and balsamic. The tomatoes were perfectly juicy and ripe. The salad with lump crab and avocado disappeared quickly, and with no sharing. But the star was the tangerine ceviche pictured below. Tender cubes of yellowtail had been "cooked" in a blend of tangerine, lime, grapefruit and orange juices so good that we wanted to drink the rest of it after the fish was gone!
The selection of entrees is short and we managed to try about half of them. There was a vegetarian option starring squash and corn and tied together with a pipian sauce. The presentation on the pescado empapelado (fish en paper) was nothing short of spectacular. It was topped with a green mole sauce heavy with epazote that complimented the perfectly cooked fish very well. Two beautiful pieces of very tender beef filet were served with roasted onions and a bone marrow sauce. The waiter recommended the chuleta, pork chop, with mole manchamanteles. Stellar recommendation. The pork chop had been pan seared, then thickly sliced. I thought the manchamanteles was a little too sweet but it did pair very well the pork.
My friends and I will always look at the dessert menu but we may not always order. We definitely ordered this time and they were good. We got the a chocolate covered banana bombe and a really stylized carrot cake. As a final parting gift, our waiter brought a tray of mango jellies rolled in sugar and some semi-sweet chocolate truffles. Consensus was that the mango jellies tasted just like biting into a mango. Some felt the chocolate truffle was too bitter, I thought it was fine.
Cocktails, starters, entree, dessert, tax and tip came to about $65 per person. It was worth every peso and in spite of some of the service lapses, we'd all go back in a heartbeat. The setting is elegant and relaxed, the food is wonderful and a very good value for what is served.
For a splurge in San Miguel de Allende, Moxi will certainly fill the bill.
The tangerine ceviche looks absolutely fantastic.
So they used yellowtail..want to drink the juice!
That could be easily made and is that walnuts at 6:00?
Hotel Matilda looks lovely for a boutique hotel with nice appointed rooms..I have never been to SMA and you're the first I've heard that didn't see the allure.
Not enough head banging clubs for you DD...hee hee
Years ago, I used to fly out of TIJ and loved going to Caesar's bar, where the Captain and crew would hang.
They made the best Bloody Maria with Clamatto that would grow hair on your back..sorry for the visual.
Sounds like you had a blast mi amigo..
I did have the chile relleno in SMA, but not at Moxi :-) I'll be posting a street food report on this board in a day or two that will include the infamous chile relleno.
DC, I have to be honest, I was not terribly enthralled with San Miguel. Your experience may be different. I found it rather one dimensional and bland.
OTOH, I was totally enthralled with Guanajuato. It was totally charming, yet modern and interesting with a nice diversity of things to do and see. If you don't plan on buying a lot of "stuff" you can probably get there from Tijuana for $200 or less (fly into Leon for GTO and Queretero for SMA). If you want more details contact me off-list and I'll give you our hotel info and a recommendation for a good bi-lingual guide. Click on my name to take you to my profile with contact info.
Tried to connect with you offline but the link on your profile didn't work...sigh.
My companion says that she's been to Guanajuato (no surprise since she was born/raised in Mexico City) and says it's "a lovely place", but hasn't been in decades and would like to see it again.
(The mods are going to whack this post, I suspect, so I hope you see this before they do.)