Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zocalo Back Bay - A real Mexican meal

Another dinner out, another discount coupon, this time courtesy of Rue Boston.  I actually completely deleted the deal email when I received it, but it caught Nick's eye.  Recently, Zocalo opened in the Back Bay on Stanhope Street in the old 33 space, or at least a portion of the 33 space.  Always looking for good Mexican options in town, Nick and I decided to head on over and see how this meal stacks up.

I jumped right in and ordered a house margarita, which was good but not great, though I must stress that I am super picky about my margarita.  Next time I may try their Sangria.


Nick ordered a michelada, which is a beer that is enhanced with some lime juice and clamato or tomato juice.  As you can see the glass is lined with a variety of spices that are also mixed into the drink.

 Right after receiving our drinks, the server brought over some chips and salsa.

Chips and salsa
This salsa was UNREAL!  There was a great spice and heat, which I love, but there was also some sort of sweetness that really contrasted the spice all in one bite.  I LOVED it, and if they sold it (I actually forgot to ask) I would buy it exclusively.  It is worth going to Zocalo just going for the salsa.

Being a huge fan of guacamole we of course had to get an order, which was also made table-side.

Lots of Guacamole
Even better, they were able to make the guacamole as spicy or mild as you like - of course, we went spicy!  One thing to note is that there is cilantro in the guacamole and throughout the meal.  We both love the flavor, but for those who don't like it - beware.

Since there were so many different dishes, coming up with an ordering strategy was a bit difficult!  There are a number of terrific looking appetizers, salads, small plates, and larger entrees.  We went with the "eyes bigger than our bellies" approach.  We decided to try the Botana Mexicana, an appetizer sampler made for two people.

Botana Mexicana
This appetizer had a whole bunch of delicious bites for us to try, which included taquitos (corn tortilla stuffed with chicken, potatoes and queso fresco topped with avocado sauce, crema mexicana and a tangy chile chipotle sauce), a tamale (steamed corn meal stuffed with shredded chicken or vegetables, wrapped in banana leaf topped with a salsa verde), chilapitas (sweet plantains stuffed with pulled pork, crème fraîche, avocado and pickled onions topped with chile chipotle sauce and cotija cheese) and elote (traditional grilled corn with crema mexicana, lime juice, queso fresco and chile spice).

The elote was my favorite - up there with the salsa.  The corn was absolutely delicious.  The grill really highlighted the flavors of the corn, but the queso fresco was incredible.  We saw a lot of orders of this coming out of the kitchen, so this must be a popular dish (and I can see why!)  Nick loved the chilapitas since he is a huge fan of of sweet plantains in general, but with pulled pork and the rest of the toppings, there was really nothing for him to dislike!  This was his favorite dish of the evening.  The taquitos and the tamale were good but by the time we started to eat those, we started getting full!  They were good, just not AS good as the rest of the plate.

Nick ordered the ensaladas de frutas, which had mixed greens, fresh orange, avocados, seasonal fruits and pickled onions topped with queso fresco and an evoo vinaigrette dressing.

Ensaladas De Frutas
You have the option to add a bunch of types of meats and seafood, and Nick selected the grilled shrimp.  The combination of flavors and textures were delicious.

Finally, I ordered the traditional tacos a la Mexicana, which is three soft corn tacos with grilled marinated pork and topped with onions, cilantro, salsa verde and chipotle sauce.

The filing in these was great and they did not skimp with a single tortilla - each taco was doubled up with two tortillas.  Had I not been so full, I would have appreciated the double tortilla more!  The pork was juicy and the flavors blended well.

This was one of the best Mexican meals I have had in Boston.  The variety of food on their menu was different and seemed more authentic than what you traditionally see on Mexican restaurant menus around here.  If you are looking for some great Mexican food, Zocalo is the place to go.

Zocalo Cocina Mexicana on Urbanspoon


  1. good to know about this place! michelada sounds right up my alley as do those juicy pork tacos!

  2. I haven't been there yet, but I keep hearing great things!


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