Monday, October 7, 2013
Restaurant review: Lazaranda Modern Kitchen brings Mexican authenticity to Addison
The menu offers a variety of styles unique to different parts of Mexico.
ADDISON The discussion of the enchilada can be a vivacious one, depending on one’s company. If that company happens to be Chefs Antonio Marquez and Mario Letayf, the discussion can quickly become centered on authenticity and originality; that is to say, they are quick to point out the difference between a common perception of the enchilada versus what they grew up already knowing.
“Enchiladas are commonly associated with Tex-Mex, and they’re a big part of it,” Letayf observes. “But always remember: the enchilada is Mexican food, it is the things that we put on it that make the difference.”
And at Lazaranda Modern Kitchen, customers can rest assured that whatever their enchiladas – or tacos, ceviches, soups or steaks – entail, they’re going to be the Mexican version, as Marquez and Letayf created the Addison restaurant as an extension of their two restaurants in Monterrey – one, a traditional Mexican cuisine restaurant, the other a seafood spot with the same regional focus. What they developed is a family-friendly spot with food options that vary from Gulf Blue Crab Tostadas to Cochinita Pibil Tacos to Black Bean Soup and even 14-ounce ribeyes. It’s a laid-back environment with a tequila-intensive drinks selection, where the cuisines of all regions of Mexico can be sampled in a contemporary environment.
“We wanted to pull the best of both restaurants – to bring a mix of both those concepts here to the States,” says Marquez. “We have dishes from a lot of states in Mexico. Some of our recipes are from the Pacific – Mazatlan, specifically, some of them are from Oaxaca, some of them are from the South, some are from the Gulf and some come from the middle and Monterrey. We tried to do a little bit from every part of Mexico.”
Lazaranda, which occupies the large restaurant space in the eastern side of the Addison Walk Shopping Center, is adorned throughout with dark wooden accents, that are brightened by the light streaming through the large windows in the front of the restaurant. A large, covered patio presents plenty of opportunity for comfortable al fresco dining, and as the bar area also opens up to it.
But it’s the food about which Marquez and Letayf are particularly proud; tortillas are made in-house each day ("We cook them on the grill before we serve them, that’s how you’re supposed to do it,” Marquez adds) and all the moles and sauces are prepared at the restaurant as well. Great effort is taken to maintain an approach that stays loyal to Mexican cuisine, but that doesn’t eliminate the possibility for creativity. There are five different ceviches, six different tacos, nine seafood dishes and four different types of enchiladas span the menu. They’re not exactly ho-hum offerings, either: the Maji Ajillo is sauteed with garlic, guajillo pepper, and orange juice, while the Chicken Breast ‘Moctezuma’ features panela cheese, grilled cactus leaves and caramelized onions.
“We tried to represent different options from regions all around Mexico – for example, the ceviche. It started in Peru, but it’s all over Mexico, especially in Guerrero and up the coast to Mazatlan and down to Oaxaca,” Marquez says. ”So the way we do it will be very representative of the Pacific style of doing it.”
Letayf is quick to add, however, that “in Mexican food, the seafood on Gulf is completely different than the seafood on the Pacific coast. The Pacific is a little bit lighter, whereas Veracruz is a little heavier.”
Both options are available at Lazaranda, as are many others in this restaurant that strives to represent as much of the cuisine of Mexico as possible. From mahi to cochinita pibil, soups, tacos and tequilas. And, of course, plenty of enchiladas to go around.
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