It's good to be back in Merida!
For those of us that live in Merida's norte, getting to La Rueda is a bit if a drive. But the Casual Restaurant Critic is happy to report that it is probably worth it.
On a sunny midweek afternoon which turned into a downpour by the time lunch was over, the Critic and some amigos went for lunch at La Rueda. After hearing so much about this place, the Critic had to see for himself what all the fuss was about.
The restaurant is surprisingly easy to find, and Jorgitos directions couldn't be simpler. It is a non-descript little place on a corner, a converted house, that had a large sign on top and, as Jorgito noted, a rather conspicuous collection of nice cars out front.
On this occasion, no waiting was necessary and a table - one of about 8 in total - was had in the middle of the air conditioned restaurant. The decoration is unpretentious but pleasant; nicely put together posters, photos and memorabilia related to Argentina is all over the walls.
The 3 amigos ordered a salad to share, which featured real, crisp romaine lettuce, fresh tomatos and strips of prosciutto tossed with a vinagrette dressing. Refreshing. Soft drinks were ordered and since the Critic believes that red wine is good for you, a glass of Cuné Rioja.
As for meat, one of the amigos ordered the veal, while the other amigo and the Critic ordered the churrasco steak. Once the meat arrived, which took a little while, it turned out to be delicious. The chimichurri sauce was, in the Critic's humble opinion, not needed. A little fatty around the edges, it was perfectly seasoned and cooked and came with a mashed potato garnish that was not very warm and half of a grilled sweet onion. Superb.
Suprisingly, the desserts were not only original but tasty as well! The Praline is what appears to be a homemade hazelnut and almond ice cream and the chocolate pyramid was delicous as well.
The Critic had heard that the prices at La Rueda were ridiculously cheap; one of the amigos mentioned that the menu had had a serious price hike since his last visit. Since he is of Lebanese descent, the Critic believes him, because if anyone notices these things, it's a paisano.
The bill for the three people, for the food mentioned above, was - with tip - $810 pesos. This is not a lot lower than the bill for 2 meats and a pasta at La Recova on Montejo, reviewed in August. In the Critics opinion, both restaurants are excellent in food quality and service; perhaps the Montejo version is a little nicer in terms of the actual room.
On a scale of 5, this place rates a solid 4.
On a completely unrelated side note, the Critic and amigos finished their lunch just in time, as a comandante of the local police and his family were sitting down to have lunch. With all the drug violence in the formerly white city these days, it would be unwise to remain in such a small space in the immediate vicinity of a police official, one could safely assume. Also, what caught the Critic's eye was that the officer sat with his back to the plate glass sliding door entrance, a move the Critic wouldn't have undertaken if he were a member of the police force. Of course, two bodyguards were left on either side of the door to watch for anyone that looked fuereño and suspicious, but a machine-gun drive-by could have made quite a scene...