Review: Mí Día makes its mark in Grapevine

Mí Día From Scratch

1295 S. Main St.



Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday

Signature dish: Duck tacos

Entrée cost: $9-$25

Essentials: Full bar; major credit cards; smoking allowed on patio; wheelchair-accessible.

Good to know: Extensive menu of margaritas.

Recommended for: Lovers of authentic Mexican food; those who don't want to drive to New Mexico for Santa Fe-style dishes.

Posted 7:42pm on Thursday, Nov. 03, 2011

Anyone who has kept tabs on the Grapevine dining scene has undoubtedly witnessed the restaurant boom at the intersection of Main Street and Texas 114. Here, a handful of restaurants have opened in the past few years, each connected by landscaped walkways.

It’s bittersweet for us to note that a large part of the credit goes to restaurateur Steve Hartnett, who owned that patch of land. Hartnett (co-founder of Fox & Hound, Cool River and others), died Nov. 21, after a battle with prostate cancer.

The success of this mighty little strip is a testament to Hartnett’s legacy. Each restaurant offers a different cuisine: pizza at Fireside Pies, high-end steak at Bob’s Steak and Chop House, and gourmet-ish comfort food at Winewood Grill.

Joining the lineup is Mí Día From Scratch, which opened in October. The spacious restaurant looks and feels familiar: Its sleek but warm atmosphere, industrial-chic mixed with rustic roadhouse, and Mex-Mex menu is in step with other high-end Mexican restaurants in the area, such as MesoMaya and Komali. But Mí Día certainly has its own personality, touting several Santa Fe-inspired dishes, along with traditional Mexican fare, as well as a tequila bar that towers over the main dining room. A glass wall lets you peer onto the patio.

In the kitchen is a familiar face: veteran Dallas chef Gabriel DeLeon, best known for his family's Irving restaurant, La Margarita, and the now-shuttered Masaryk Modern Mexican Kitchen in Addison. His dishes are made in-house, including the tortillas.

The menu is divided into geographic categories: Santa Fe dishes such as stacked enchiladas ($14) topped with fried eggs; Tex-Mex platters; regional Mexican plates, including huitlacoche relleno ($15); and street-style tacos. Sometimes, the regions mix, as on the huitlacoche quesadillas ($12). Made with blue-corn tortillas, three quesadillas came stacked, the top one presented open-face so you could see its interior: roasted corn, black beans, sauteed Mexican truffle, all drizzled tidily with queso asadero. They sat in two pools of Santa Fe sauces, divided on the plate: a green hatch chile sauce and a red chile sauce.

A similar yin-yang treatment was given to the salsas served with the thin, crisp corn tortilla chips. A green tomatillo sauce and a red chipotle sauce occupied the same ramekin, but were too overpowering when mixed together; it was a challenge to keep them apart.

Sopes ($9) were ordered as an appetizer but were filling enough to be an entree. Four slightly crisp flat corn mesa shells came topped with pork belly, queso fresco, micro cilantro, crema and salsa negra. The pork belly was moist and tender, and the salsa was among the best we sampled: smoky and subtle but with a fiery afterbite.

Our friendly, astute server pointed us in the direction of two entrees: banana leaf-wrapped salmon ($18) and duck carnitas tacos ($19), both of which were excellent. The salmon dish was beautifully presented. A generous piece of grilled salmon, cloaked in a banana leaf, was served atop a bed of whipped potatoes and a mango-lemon sauce, and crowned with streams of sauteed chayote. The salmon had been rubbed in achiote and citrus, and the whipped potatoes were infused with morita peppers; the dish as a whole offered a perfect balance of sweet and spicy.

The duck tacos did less showboating but were equally good. Four tacos made with flour tortillas were filled with roasted Maple Leaf Farms duck, cilantro, roasted poblanos, pickled onions and morita peppers. The duck was shredded, pulled-pork-style, and very flavorful, with a faintly sweet taste. Tortillas were small, like street tacos, but thick in texture. Black beans came on the side, along with pleasing, mild green poblano rice.

Of the seven offered desserts, we chose the empanadas ($8). Three small empanadas were stuffed with melted goat cheese, the harshness of which initially took us by surprise. Eventually, we were able to appreciate its savory nuances. The dish was served with a scoop of goat cheese ice cream that was much easier to like. There are also plenty of sweeter desserts to choose from, such as Mexican s'mores ($8) and prickly pear sorbet ($7), served with an almond-cocoa nib cookie.

Mí Día also offers a large selection of tequilas, so many that two pages of the drink menu are devoted to margaritas and tequilas. "Tequila flights" -- samplings of three -- are offered for $9-$65. Three are on tap and infused with ingredients such as green chile and pineapple-chipotle; a small wine list is made up of bottles from Argentina, Spain and Chile.

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