Review: Temazcal Tequila Cantina
Continuing the Latin cuisine trend that has recently descended on Boston is Temazcal Tequila Cantina, freshly opened earlier this month in the Liberty Wharf complex that also holds newcomers Jerry Remy’s and Del Frisco’s. With two-time James Beard award winner Todd Hall at the helm, one would expect overall excellence—and one would be correct.
The location is prime, offering expansive views of the harbor. Vibrant Latin music pulsates through the space, which has an almost jungle-like vibe to it. The cuisine is traditional Mexican—as Chef Hall says, these dishes have been around for 500 years and are far different than the gloppy, messy food most Americans have in mind when they think of dining south of the border.
Menu standouts include the moist chicken tamales, velvety barbacoa (braised short rib), and spicy carne asada marinated in achiote paste. Another hit was the surprising Quesadilla de Flor Calabaza (squash blossom quesadilla), which looks innocent enough but packs major flavor with homemade masa dough and a kick from poblano and serrano chiles.
Word has spread quickly, because Temazcal was bumping when we arrived just barely into the dinner hour and stayed that way throughout. But it’s more than just the latest hotspot—with cuisine like this, Temazcal has major staying power.
Drink this: With more than 300 tequilas behind the bar, connoisseurs will be delighted. The cocktail list is also expansive and unique, and one of our favorites was the Besos—Patron Silver, St. Germain, agave nectar, and fresh raspberries—which packs a serious wallop.
Eat this: If you really want to go for the gusto and impress your fellow diners, order the Lechón Asado—a whole roast suckling pig that is wheeled out from the kitchen and carved tableside.
Sit here: It’s pretty obvious that you want to score a spot right by the harborside windows if you can. However, a nice alternative is to snag a seat at the bar, which is heavily mirrored so you can still enjoy the sweeping views behind you.
Conversation piece: Upping the coolness factor by at least 10 points are the iPad menus. Guests can scroll through the antojitos, entradas and even the cocktail list to peruse recipes, nutrition, history and preparation, as well as photos (all taken by Chef Hall himself, thank you very much).