The MexZican Gourmet: Homestyle Mexican With A Touch Of Class

Chef Ze Carlos Jimenez was behind the burner last evening as we walked into The MexZican Gourmet in South Miami last evening around 9 p.m.

Still too cold to sit at one of the outside tables, we walked inside. The small, candlelit space is painted in citrus color and decorated with Mexican folk art - tin geckos and mirrors, Frida Kahlo's portrait.The 80-seat restaurant was still lively, as we sat down to dinner.

You might recently know Ze Carlos Jimenez from his food truck, The MexZican Gourmet, but he's also consultant chef for Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita. Though he loves the food truck business, Jimenez wanted to break out of the taco box and spread some culinary wings.

When we ordered, we were disappointed to be told that they were out of

guacamole. Chef Jimenez explained that his avocado shipment came

unripened and when he went shopping for retail avocados, he didn't find

any fruit up to snuff. We took a rain check and ordered a selection of other items.

Order a beer, wine, or michelada, sit back and relax, because it took a

while for us to get hot food (good thing we ordered the ceviche, which

came out instantly).  Chips and salsa verde are brought to the table.

While the house-made chips are wonderful, skip the salsa, which was too


We did enjoy the ceviche verde ($9), a tangy blend of snapper,

tomatillo, red onion, cilantro, and lime. full of citrus flavors.

Queso Fundido ($9), melted Chihuahua cheese served with a choice of

chili poblano, chorizo, or mushrooms (we opted for the mushrooms), was

served with fresh warm corn tortillas.

Tacos (traditional 3/$10, specialty 3/$14) are served on soft corn

tortillas, and come with rice and beans. We chose a carne asada,

carnitas, and costilla (short rib) for our three. The meats were

flavorful, especially the carne asada, which had a great rich flavor -

well seasoned and not overdone, like steak bits tend to be.

Tampiquena com Camarones ($18), a dish of thin sliced and grilled beef

tenderloin with wild mushrooms in a red wine/chipotle sauce with shrimp

and potaro gratin, tasted almost like slow cooked beef Bourguignon than

Mexican, but subtle hints of Mexican spices take you back to the

restaurant. A good dish for when there's a chill in the air.

Chef Jimenez told us that he'll use the restaurant's kitchen to do

prep work for the truck, which will scale back to doing mostly catering

events and popular food truck roundups, like Seminole Hard Rock. He

also said he'll be at the restaurant every day.

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