The newest venture from Sam Hall, owner/operator of Marquee Pizza and Clinton Street Social Club, is set to open its doors this coming week. La Vecina, located in the popular Iowa River Landing district, is going to be opening their doors this coming Wednesday to the public. Hours are going to limited in the first couple of weeks so stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates. Check it out here:
I was lucky enough to attend their soft opening on Friday night. When asked to describe the cuisine, the easy answer is Mexican food, which in most regards can get my ass to that place, but this is a bit more than that..maybe a lot more than that. I’ve never been to San Diego but for some reason this cuisine put me on a beach in Southern California; the freshness, open fire grill, and ambiance of the restaurant make it hard for you not to be California dreaming. Sam and staff had to have done their research…the technique, the flavors, the freshness and the care put into every dish were exactly what you’d expect from a west coast “mexican” restaurant. Enough of my jabber, let’s look at the dishes:
The guac: It’s hard to mess up guac, but it’s easy to overdo it as well and La Vecina makes the best guac I’ve ever had. The thing everyone needs to realize is that the chips/tortillas are freshly made. Not just pressed, but the corn is ground there, pressed, and then made into tortillas/chips. Crunch rim, soft and chewy middle. Load those suckers up with guac, or pic #2 is a shrimp ceviche that I would walk through broken glass to get to.
Pic #3 is octopus. Don’t be scared folks, it’s amazing. The sauce that completes the char on the octopus compliments it perfectly. Soft and tender and refreshing dish. On to the queso fundido…my recommendation…just order this dish…you may want two…cheesey and amazing and served with fresh tortillas, cilantro and pickled onions which complement it perfectly. You can’t go wrong with the starters here.
I missed a few pics but I tried the four tacos on the menu. You get three to an order and you are wanting more and more…
*Carnitas – you really can’t go wrong. Tender meat, fresh veggies, and a perfect complement of salsas.
*Fried Avocado Tacos – the surprise of the night. Crispness from the avocado with a chewy interior mixed with the fresh veggies and sauce…yes..I would eat a million of these bad boys.
*Fish Tacos – a huge chunk of white fish. Flaky, delicious and that spice from the salsa makes you happy you have drink next to you. Wonderful fish taco.
*Brisket Tacos – the meat was as tender as you’d expect. The beauty was the guava bbq.
It wouldn’t be hard to put 3 of each taco down during a sitting. Everyone had a something unique about them but everyone was delicious. Share with someone, order all 4 and share. Worth it.
I don’t know shit about cocktails, but I tried everyone on the menu. Watermelon, jalapeno, basil, bell pepper…a mix huge mix of ingredients with the finest booze around and you can’t go wrong when pairing with a taco or ten. Plus, Big Grove has El Lenador on tap..a craft spin on a Mexican lager which was a perfect pairing to everything.
I can’t say enough about how great this place is going to be. Our waitress was beyond terrific and each dish was unique, fresh, and exactly what makes it stand apart and should make you want to get to La Vecina. Sam, Staff, Chefs…keep rolling…this is EXACTLY what the area needs. Cheers!