Jul 11, 2007

La Tradicion Yucatecan Restaurant

This month, yet another Yucatecan restaurant reviewed by the insatiable and ever-critical Casual Restaurant Critic! This is, after all, what you are after, isn't it? Yucatecan food?

La Tradicion is located between San Fernando and the MegaComercial, on 60 street. It is completely air-conditioned except for some tables on the terrace where you could theoretically smoke those stinky Phillipine-made Marlboro cigarettes you bough in Molas on the way back from Sotuta de Peon.

Being as it is July, and the heat is unbearable, the original choice for lunch, Colonos, was discarded and the Critic's group decided on La Tradicion, which the Critic had heard or read about somewhere.

Chef David Cetina was at the door to welcome the party and soon all were seated at two tables - real tables with real chairs, not the cheap plastic ones - and had menus in their hands. After ordering drinks (micheladas, horchatas and jamaicas) a waiter arrived with a small plate of refried black beans with tortilla chips and another with codzitos for snacking while the appetizers arrived. The beans were not only good, they were hot, a real first since at most restaurants they are served luke-warm. The codzitos were crunchy and smothered in what seemed like a home-made tomato sauce. Very good.

The appetizers arrived soon after; crispy longaniza de Valladolid and delicious papadzules. In fact, the papadzules were so good that more were ordered almost right away. The temperature was excellent (hot) and the tortillas fresh, the sauce tasty. And the tortillas were thick and hand-made. Nothing like a fresh tortilla, filled with crunchy/chewy longaniza (a kind of thin flavorful chorizo) with some nose-watering, tear inducing chile habanero salsa.

Then the main course - panuchos and salbutes were ordered along with the now-obligatory Critic signature dish, queso relleno. At first sight, the Critic was alarmed by the apparent small size of the bowl of queso relleno set before him, but that fear was soon allayed with an abundance of fresh tortillas which seemed to make the dish last for hours. It was delicious. While the Critic's better half commented that the cheese wasn't the requisite Gouda (or Edam) the Critic didn't notice and happily devoured his queso.

Afterwards, for the sake of investigation (and to further complicate an impending attack of sever heartburn later) flan and crema espaƱola were ordered for dessert. They were creamy and delicious as well.

The rest of the menu looked very good as well. At the table next to the Critic's party, a family was enjoying what looked like a very authentic-looking and generous portion of puchero de tres carnes, a typical Yucatecan platillo which you can't find that often these days.

The bill? $800 pesos without tip.

All in all, La Tradicion was a pleasant surprise. The Critic would highly recommend it to both locals and visitors alike.

On a score of 1-5, La Tradicion rates a solid 4.5!

3 comments:

Glamdring said...

Mr. Lawson, I'm not actually commenting about the restaurant.
Would you like to translate two English sentences into Yucatec?

If you wish, please send them to glamd@abv.bg . Here they are:
(the) teacher's boy falls.
(the) father beats/hits the boy.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Cochinito said...

Buenas, Sr. Critic. I'm curious if you've been back lately. Or did I just pick the wrong day/dish.

It's Monday so I ordered Frijol con Puerco (the only day of week it's served). The spread looked terrific. Three different salsas -- fiery roasted habanero, a medium chiltomate, and a mild salsa fresca. A plate of rolled and fried tortillas drizzled with salsa. A basket of their hand-made tortillas. A plate of frijoles colados. Another with totopos. And front and center, a bowl of soupy beans and a plate with hunks of bean-poached pork, rice cooked in the bean broth, avocado, finely diced radish & onion, and chopped cilantro. There was also a pig ear, which I was eager to try for the first time.

It was impressive and I have the photos to prove it.

But it turns out the pork was indefensibly overcooked. It took knife and fork to cut and had that pale gray, fibrous interior. The beans on the other hand were undercooked. Both were rather bland. Everything seemed under-salted. The salsa fresca had chunks of still yellowish, almost crunchy tomato.

The tortillas were a delight, the frijol colado had the slightly roasty flavor I like, and the other two salsas really helped me choke down the meat. And the service was good if a bit eager.

But overall the food was a disappointment that for the next two hours wouldn't let me forget.

Maybe the mistake was ordering something they prepare only once a week, but I'm sure one could get better frijol con puerco at any number of cocinas economicas.

If I return, I'll probably take your cue and order salbutes, panuchos, queso relleno, and hope for the best.

William Lawson said...

Sorry about your experience! A Yucatecan restaurant that can't whip up a decent Frijol Con Puerco is guilty of treason. Their cook should be shot or at least fired. Thanks for the heads up!