Talavera Cocina Mexicana | Coral Gables/S. Miami | Mexican | Restaurant

Talavera Cocina Mexicana

Talavera is to Mexican street food what Salma Hayek is to a Mexican street person - gussied up and good! Take the two salsas that jump-start diners: one red guajillo-based, one green habanero-based, both puréed to the sort of seamlessly smooth consistency that would satisfy the most stringent French chef. More to the point, both are delicious. So are tacos de Chilorio, six soft flour tortillas plumply filled with shreds of roast pork poked with ancho and guajillo chilies. Specialty of the house, "huarache grill", is a corn masa cake forged into the namesake sandal shape, lightly fried, and here topped with black bean purée, lettuce, goat cheese, salsa verde, and choice of grilled meat or fish marinated in a guajillo chili powder rub. A pristine slab of mahi-mahi proved utterly delectable melded with those ingredients. Other hits include mole de Veracruz - which boasts a potently sweet flavor derived from fruits, nuts, and more than a hint of chocolate and spice - and the Oaxacan mole, with braised short ribs and a perkier piquancy. Almost everything on the menu is $20 or less. Weekday lunches bring more than a dozen selections, everything priced at $12. A fully stocked bar pours stiff, classic margaritas for a reasonable $8; wine bottles range from $18 to $34. The décor is modern, warm, and comfy, and service soars. For dessert, don't miss "corn cake with tres leches" - soft, warm, and melt-in-the-mouth luscious in a cinnamon-and-rum-spiked pool of cream.