El Camino Gives Downtown Delray Beach Its First Tequila Bar
Although his family is from Mexico, Meneses grew up stateside in New Mexico, cooking alongside his mother learning the family recipes at a young age. Schooled at the L'Acadamie de Cuisine in Maryland, he also spent five years learning from the likes of Michel Richard and Todd Gray cooking everything from French to Italian. Mexican, however, is where Meneses' heart is, and El Camino represents many of the unique dishes he ate as a child, but prepared with a modern touch. Chips and salsas are more authentic, given the proper texture and using ingredients sourced straight from Mexico, from the cactus in his slaw recipe, to the dried passila and morita peppers, árbol and cascabel chilies.
All photos by Nicole Danna El Camino happy hour serves $5 margaritas from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The food menu, like the drinks, is a little more craft than you'd expect and the restaurant proudly declares it makes everything in house, including hand-formed blue corn tortillas, the chorizo, and more than a dozen sauces including Meneses own secret recipe for hot sauce. Keeping with the most recent trend, everything is local and sustainable, ingredients "painstakingly" sourced, meaning if the mint is hard to come by, someone is going to darn well make sure it gets there fresh.
Speciality items littering the appetizer and entree menu with highlights like smoked brisket nachos and charred octopus, or a family recipe modified to make the squash blossom quesadillas. You can also get the familiar favorites like enchiladas and tamales, but we love the chile relleno, here pan-fried with egg -- no breading -- to keep with Meneses' family recipe. Our favorite starter, however, is the crispy fried pork skins, or chicharrón. Crunchy strips of fried pig's ear, they let off a muffled pop in your mouth with every bit, like some sort of edible fire cracker, served with a cactus slaw and sour cream.
Nicole Danna El Camino has an open indoor and outdoor setting where bar flies and seated patrons mingle together.
And then come the tacos, served on a platter -- tiny round tortillas coursed out as though they were on a tasting menu -- from chili-rubbed skirt steak to crispy grouper. Each features a different type of cheese, sauce, marinade and topping to accentuate the meat, where beer-battered brisket is served near alone, while crispy fish is given a citrus-infused sauce with a lime, papaya and jalapeño cilantro sauce. Recently, a veggie taco was added upon request from patrons, and combines mushroom, roasted poblano peppers, pickled jalapeño, red onion and Meneses' fresh-made tomatilla salsa.
El Camino is located at 15 NE Second Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-265-5093, or visit www.elcaminodelray.com for more information.
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