Playa Cabana Catina
Nelson @PlayaCabana: A trendy Mexican restaurant, something Toronto is sorely lacking. The state of Toronto's Mexican food is sad, but let's see if this Cantina can turn that around.
Let's set a baseline with some Guaca Fresca ($8) otherwise known as nachos and Guacamole. The nachos were deliciously oily and crunchy and went really well with the fresh guac. A very good start.
|We had to try some drinks as well. This is the Mojito Cubano ($9) with 1 oz Mount Gay Rum, mint, simple syrup, lime, and soda. We found this one a little bit too sweet. The other one is a Jimador, with 1 oz Jimador, 1/2 oz triple sec, lime and simple syrup ($7). I liked this one better.|
We ordered many many tacos, so let's start with Pescado with fried Haddock, chipotle-tomatillo salsa ($5). A really large piece of fish, but it was a bit fishy tasting and only ok. There are a lot of fish tacos to compare this to nowadays.
The tortilla was pretty good, better than generic store bought ones for sure, but I have had even better ones elsewhere.
|This is the Venera Frita, fried scallop, toronja salsita, and pickled jicama ($6). Overall this one had a sour taste, but it brings out how fresh the rest of the ingredients are. It even had grapefruit! Pretty good, but not my favourite either.|
|Carnita ($6)- seared pork belly with tomatillo-avocado pico. Strangely this one was very sweet and did not taste of fat or even that much pork. You can see how wet this one is and it fell absolutely apart. I did not that all of these were very difficult to eat with the shell being barely able to hold the fillings or the wet sauce turning the shell to mush. Is this intentional?|
|This is the Arrachera Quesadilla ($14) - Oaxacan cheese with marinated bavette steak. Interesting to have beef in a quesadilla. The cheese wasn't as strong as I was expecting and overall a bit disappointing.|
|Ancho-braised shortrib ($5) with beef shortrib on a crispy tortilla, guac, crema, queso. This one was my favourite simply because it held together. Well also it tasted good with the short rib meat taste really coming through.|
|The Pulpo has chipotle grilled octopu and Spanish chorizo pico ($7). Unfortunately our octopus was too burnt and really took away from the enjoyment of this taco. Otherwise it had a very generous portion of guac. Interesting idea, it just needs better execution.|
Lastly we ordered a dessert, something really creative called a Churro Poutine ($9). It is made up of marshmallow curds, cajeta gravy and peanut salt. Cajeta is a thickened syrup of sweetened caramelized milk otherwise known as dulce de leche. I thought this dessert was really creative. As you would expect, it was sweet, but I enjoyed it.
Overall while there are some good ideas for tacos, they were really messy to eat and made for some difficult dining. I wasn't sure if that was intentional. Prety decent for Mexican in Toronto, but probably doesn't compare to any other big city with a healthy Mexican population.
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