Update: Rio Nuevo

Tonight my wife got an acceptance letter that she’d been accepted to take part in her schools Hong Kong satellite program. Its a 5 week quarter where they get immersed in the Chinese culture and get to understand what makes them tick, thus making her a better designer. I wish I had taken advantage of these when I was in school but I was too interested in working through school and my summers for beer money that actually getting an edjamacation. We had some doings by Northpoint mall and when we finished we decided to get some apps at Rio Nuevo. Its on the pricey side but its probably the best place for grub around the mall, the rest is a total wasteland of generic foodstuffs that lacks any inspiration or quality for that matter.

For drinks she had a Modelo Especial on draft, one of the few places that features Modelo groups offering on draft and I had a Antiguo de Herradura Anejo. This is a pretty hard to find bottling on any tequila menu, they’ll usually have Herradura’s standard juice but this is typically its cheaper, red headed step child of the brand. Hell, El Jimador their entry level juice gets more play. Like I said its a cheap bottle that can be had for around $30 bucks but I wanted a snifter before I made up my mind to purchase. Its good juice, it’s a little thin on the nose and it drastically changed in the 30 minutes I sipped from it. It started with notes of black licorice and with time opened up with a little vanilla and creaminess that you’d expect from an Anejo. There was also a little brine and earthiness to it. The taste was thin like the nose and seemed to get thinner as it breathed. Agave and slight fruit notes followed by a little bite similar to cinnamon. Overall it was very pleasant and smooth.

For dinner we split the Fritto Misto which was basically calamari with onion, cactus, zucchini and jalapeno’s mixed in. All of it was lightly fried and cooked perfectly. Unfortunately the calamari was the worst part. Some was rubbery, some was tender. Nothing was oily or greasy and the Cactus and veggies were awesome. If they could nail the calamari, it’d be a great dish. In fact it’d be worth a shot cooking at home.

After the great, yet disappointing  Fritto Misto I had a Costillo Taco and Amy had a side of their Charro black beans. They dont use bacon or pork in their black beans so its a great protein for her. The Costillo was a taco filled with braised short ribs served with chopped cilantro/onion and a spicy red sauce on the side. You should know by now I’m a sucker for fresh cilantro and onion on my tacos. That red sauce…didn’t even try it. This taco was great, its only weakness was the grilled corn tortilla in that it was on the dry side. Other than that it was great. The meat was flavorful and tender with a nice searing to give a little crust to its tenderness.

The verdict? Some things rock, some not so much. I guess you’ll just have to go and spend some cash to find what dishes you dig. While their tequila menu isn’t as large as Tara Humata’s, it’s priced nicely and has some good juice. They do have Negra Modelo on tap…

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