Friday, June 28, 2013 , Updated 11:47 a.m., November 6, 2013
UPDATED: Pan-Latin restaurant called Mexican Sugar in Plano is open
This week, it's dinner only. Lunch and dinner services begin November 11.
PLANO It's big news any time Fork It Over, Inc. -- the folks behind Whiskey Cake and Velvet Taco -- start talking about a new project, and the buzz around Plano's coming pan-Latin restaurant Mexican Sugar proves that folks are ready for some interesting new flavors. But, if the menu -- which is still being worked out in the test kitchen -- will feature dishes from a number of countries and regions in addition to Texas' most immediate southern neighbor, what's the deal with the name?
Managing Chef Partner Eric Justice cleared that up for us.
"It will be Latin inclusive," Justice said. "But centered around interior and regional Mexican cuisine as the foundation. We will feature dishes and stylistic inspiration from many central and South American countries, but the basis is grounded in Mexican cuisine."
Note that's Mexican, not Tex-Mex. Justice spent the better part of the last seven years working in Asian cuisine for P.F. Chang's and Pei Wei and it was, perhaps unexpectedly, that experience that fueled his interest in Latin cuisine. As part of his former job, he often traveled internationally and frequently to Mexico City. There, he fell in love with what he calls one of the world's "hippest" cities.
"Mexico City is one of my favorite new places to go," Justice said. "I was there opening P.F. Chang's and fell in love with not only the cuisine but also the culture -- the mixture of modern and old styles, the art, the whole feel."
Think of it as a bit of a palate cleanse. While in Mexico, Justice was able to try new dishes and take a voyage of discovery through a vastly different cuisine. He said that his culinary interests have always been versatile, and joining the Mexican Sugar project has allowed him to continue growing creatively.
[UPDATE: According to Facebook, Mexican Sugar opened quietly for dinner November 4. It opens for lunch and dinner starting November 11.
The dinner menu includes tacos, tortas and larger entrees like skirt steak or whole snapper. See it below, along with the lunch menu.]
"I think the timing is perfect," Justice said. "I think people in North Texas are waking up to different Latin flavors and styles in addition to Tex-Mex."
In addition, Mexican Sugar seeks to ramp up North Texas' tequila appreciation with a large-scale program consisting of more than 100 different types, plus tequila-focused cocktails.
As far as design, Justice is particularly excited to add what he calls a "unique mash-up" unlike anything else north of Dallas. He said that means "old school and modern Mexican design [with] fun, bright colors." The space will include four or five different social settings like communal tables in one area, traditional booths in another area, and leather couches with private fireplaces.
"It's convertible to just about any type of evening you want to have," Justice said.
Mexican Sugar is slated to open at 7501 Lone Star Drive, in the Shops at Legacy in Plano,
in October 2013 in early November.
Mexican Sugar dinner menu
Mexican Sugar lunch menu
Shannon Sutlief contributed to this story.