Restaurant of the Month: La Casa de Frida
Each month Yucatan Today visits a restaurant in order to describe what it has to offer. This is not a review; it is a summary of the menu, service, ambience, prices, and opening hours.
Cuisine: Mexican, international. Chef: owner Gaby Praget. Popular dishes: duck in mole, cuitlacoche crepes. House specialty: chiles en nogada. Ambience: bohemian with quiet music. Seating: 50 people. Price for two including 2 drinks: $350 pesos. Parking: no. Credit cards accepted: none. Music: tranquil, so you can talk! Schedule: Open Monday to Saturday from 6 pm to 11 pm. Closed Sunday. Address: Calle 61 at 66, Centro. Tel: 928 2311. Email: [email protected] Website: www.lacasadefrida.com.mx
This downtown restaurant (2.5 blocks from the Main Plaza), Casa de Frida, is where you will find the haute cuisine Mexican dish chiles en nogada. This small restaurant is the perfect place for a quiet evening in an artsy ambience. Fuchsia pink walls with peacock blue trim, Frida Kahlo art on all the walls, eclectic décor throughout (paintings, photos of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, prints of her works and clothing) tranquil music and good Mexican cuisine are what you will find at La Casa de Frida.
All the cooking is done by the owner, Gaby Praget. She will most likely visit your table before and after the meal, something that is not very common in this day and age. Chiles en Nogada are the house specialty. All the art work is for sale.
Now for the food. La Casa de Frida is the place in town to try Mexico's most sophisticated and delicate dish - Chiles en Nogada. This dish, the house specialty, is a roasted poblano chile (they are not hot) that is stuffed with ground meat, chopped dried fruits, almonds, and raisins, and is then covered in a delicate white pecan sauce. Red pomegranate seeds are then sprinkled on top. For the vegetarians in the group, there is a vegetarian version of the dish made with soy. Either version costs $110 pesos. This dish, a complicated and tedious one to make, is actually from the state of Puebla, a state near Mexico City. Do take advantage of this opportunity and try them while you are in Mérida.
The rest of the menu includes appetizers, whose prices range from $35 - $45 pesos and include an eggplant mousse, marrow gorditas, and more. Delicious homemade soups and salads are in the $40 - $45 pesos price range.
Vegetarian main dishes include potato and cheese tacos, puff pastry stuffed with Ratatouille (zucchini, eggplant, green and red pepper) served with a salad, and corn mushroom (cuitlacoche) crepes served with chile poblano and grilled cheese. The dishes that have meat include chicken crepes in mole poblano, duck in mole poblano, grilled beef and pork, beef tenderloin Frida, fish fillet, shrimp in garlic and salmon in saffron sauce.
Wine is served by the glass or carafe, and natural fruit drinks are served by the glass or pitcher. Mixed drinks and cocktails are also available. Chef Gaby points out that when they mix the drinks, they use the traditional 1.5 ounces of alcohol in each drink so that they taste like they should. She comments that many places in town are using 1 oz. so the margaritas and other drinks are not authentic.