For lunch the next day, I went to Quintonil (the name is Spanish for a type of amaranth plant endemic to Mexico), a restaurant from chef Jorge Vallejo, an alum of the fine-dining restaurant Pujol. Reservations are made on Tock, and at $4,500 MXN / ~$233 USD (without drinks, including tax but before tip) was one of the priciest meals of my trip. I had the Kitchen Bar tasting menu. There was also the regular tasting menu available, as well as a la carte options.
Quintonil is in the upscale Polanco neighborhood aka the Beverly Hills of CDMX. I had a seat at the bar and it was fun to watch the action in the open kitchen.
I started with a cocktail, the
agua de quintonil
Mezcal espadín, quintonil, mandarina y limón
Which was a nice mezcalita like cocktail with I guess some herbaceous-ness from the quintonil.
I had another mezcalita like cocktail as well, the
solamente una vez
Mezcal espadín destilado en barro, licor de chile ancho, toronja, limón y orégano
Butternut squash and tomatoes salad, rice “horchata” and pumpkin seeds
A refreshing starter, with thin slices of a sweet butternut squash dressed with a champagne vinaigrette. The rice “horchata” foam was savory and sweet.
Spider crab in “pipián verde” with lime kaffir, Thai basil, blue corn tostadas
Next, a crab dish in a sauce with some Southeast Asian influence. The “tostadas” were more like tortilla chips. Delicious.
Red lobster from Baja California, butternut squash, charred geranium and “hoja santa” mojo
Very good. A bit of zing from the aguachile-like sauce that also had some squash in it to round it out. Perfectly cooked lobster.
Next, some insects! Several small plates featuring insects, and a stack of warm tortillas with which to make tacos or eat alongside.
Charred avocado with “escamoles”
A tartare-like presentation of avocado chunks and escamoles, which are a type of ant larvae. The escamoles were kind of meaty and nutty and were a good mix with the fatty avocado. This was great.
grilled lacto fermented oyster mushrooms
Not sure if there were any bugs in this.
chicatana ants chorizo with santanero beans from Oaxaca
More escamoles embedded in a chorizo sausage, on top of a bean puree. Delicious.
“salsa de chile poblano” sauce with “jumiles”
Apparently this salsa had jumiles / stink bugs in it
grasshopper “chintextle" “tlayuda” with spring lettuce from Tepotzotlán
A tlayuda is like an Oaxacan pizza, this dish was more like a tostada. It had some grasshopper on top but it may have just been crushed into a powder.
This “Entomophagy festival” was the most memorable dish of the meal. I liked the avocado with escamoles the most.
Corn chawanmushi, “uchepos” foam, ikura and vanilla oil
A bit of Japanese/Mexican fusion? Chawanmushi is a Japanese steamed egg dish. This one was made with a dashi and corn which gave it some sweetness, as well as a foam that was reminiscent of tamales. There was also some ikura / salmon egg in there, and drops of fragrant vanilla oil were applied on top tableside. Delicious!
Striped bass in “adobo de chapulín”, cauliflower, grilled kale, celeriac dressing
The fish was smoked briefly and was perfectly cooked, meaty and a little smoky. The sauce covering the fish was a salsa verde with some crushed up grasshoppers. With a cauliflower puree and a salad. Very good.
Raw milk and shishito pepper “mole verde”, rib eye and spicy leaves
The last savory course before dessert. The sauce had a lot of pepper flavor, and the beef was not super tender but quite beefy. Good.
Cactus paddle sorbet
A nice palate cleanser.
Crème fraîche, passion fruit, caviar
A very luxurious first dessert with a generous amount of caviar. I believe there was some loquat in there as well. Delicious, sweet, salty and tangy.
Jerusalem artichoke, apple and buttermilk ice cream
Second dessert, of which I neglected to take notes on. I remember that it was good though.
Great meal. Lots of interesting flavors and fine dining takes on Mexican dishes with a little Asian flavor thrown in as well. And bugs!