MI CASA RESTAURANT SAN JOSE DEL CABO - A FEAST FOR THE EYES AND THE PALATEI'm quite often surprised that some of the better eating establishments in Los Cabos, while doing a fine job of satisfying the palate, do little to feed the eyes. Sure, the dishes themselves may have come dressed to the nines, but the ambience provided by the décor leaves much to be desired. Not so at Mi Casa in old town San Jose del Cabo.
First, the location itself makes for a buffet of sights and sounds as Mi Casa is set upon a street lined with art galleries just a stone’s throw from the town’s quaint, colonially influenced church and center square. San Jose del Cabo has been, and I dare say, always will be the less flamboyant sibling of its more famous sister city, Cabo San Lucas. While Cabo San Lucas has all the glitz and glamour made famous by celebrity sojourns, San Jose del Cabo has managed to cling to its history by keeping a significantly lower profile. A big night in San Jose del Cabo entails a Thursday night art-walk followed by dinner and drinks. By no means is this town party central, but then again, that’s exactly why I love this place.
A TRADITION OF FINE RESTAURANTS COMES TO CABO
It was on one of the weekly art-walks that I stumbled upon Mi Casa. I stepped out of the Old Town Gallery, and within a few steps, found myself in front of a long purplish-blue wall adorned with a simple sign…. “Mi Casa es Su Casa.” Then I saw it. A humble yet iconic nameplate above the door that simply read, Mi Casa. I found myself smiling as I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Mi Casa in Cabo San Lucas on many occasions and, well, I looked at this as another opportunity to sample what I think is some of the best, most authentic Mexican food in Los Cabos.
Mi Casa in Cabo San Lucas has bit of an air of circus about it. Performers of all kinds trickle into the restaurant all night long…. Rigo the Birdman, father and daughter clown team Mickey and Mika, colorful Mexican dancers and an endless stream of local musicians entertaining diners. Mi Casa in San Jose del Cabo comes off as an older, more reserved and better-dressed sister. On my visits, there was little of that circus atmosphere. Instead, what I found was an equally colorful, yet more impressive display of Mexican architecture and artworks tempered by the occasional set of strolling musicians. The décor is stunning as is the collection of Mexican arts and crafts that hang from walls wearing an aged patina like a badge of honor. Everywhere you look, there’s something new to see, and thus… a feast for the eyes.
I was originally going to pen this review based solely upon my first visit, which took place in October of 2010. However, the asadero was not yet ready so I reserved myself to trying some items that I had not yet tried at the Cabo location with the intention of coming back as soon as the asadero was finished. I started my first meal with Ceviche Costéno Compechano – an Acapulco-style seafood cocktail made with fresh shrimp, octopus, fish and Baja scallops. Mildly spiced and full of ocean fresh flavor, this ceviche differs from most you’ll find in Los Cabos as it’s much more than just fish-based – the taste and texture are enhanced by both the scallops and the octopus.
To finish, I opted for their fresh Homemade Mango Ice Cream that’s been infused with aged tequila. Nice, no. Outstanding, yes! It was a fitting conclusion to a wonderfully prepared and endlessly enjoyed dinner that already had me planning my next visit... one where I would be sampling the wonders that would come from the asadero!
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A SECOND VISIT WAS EVEN BETTER!
It wasn’t until early January 2011 that I was able to make it back for a second visit. This time, I’d be bringing my wife, Dee. Having dined at Mi Casa in Cabo, Dee was jealous that I had been to the new Mi Casa and was anxiously waiting her turn to sample the food and ambience.
This time, the asadero was up and running. Dee perused the menu, but she kept coming back to the asadero menu and finally settled on Lechon Orden… suckling pig roasted over mesquite wood served with a quartet of sauces. Me, I succumbed as well opting for the Conejo, or farm-raised rabbit. The verdict… both tender, juicy and cooked to perfection. The mix of sauces ranged from a flaming-hot Habanero to our personal favorites, a beer-based Borracho and a complex Molcajete, both full of flavor and intensity without being overbearing. Soon, there wasn’t anything left on our plates. Full as we were, we still had to sample another dessert, and this time it was the Pastel Tres Leches, a decadent three-milk cake served with chocolate sauce. Coupled with coffee, it was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.
What still lingers in my mind from my two visits, is the ambience. During the day, it's a quiet sanctuary filled with little gardens, sprawling trees and a undeniable feel of being a guest at a private hacienda. By night, it seems to capture a more elegant and intimate persona. A blending of soft lights and candles, the sound of a cascading water fall, and a starry sky all come together with the vibrant colors and textures that are distinctly old Mexico.
If you’re like me, and believe that the art of dining depends as much on the quality of your surroundings as the quality of the cuisine, then a visit to the new Mi Casa in San Jose del Cabo is a must. You’ll find yourself whisked away to old Mexico dining in what may be one of the most beautiful buildings in Los Cabos. And, you’ll also be taking your palate on a journey it will most assuredly want to return to, and none to soon!
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