Word spread like wildfire when this nuevo latino bistro opened in 2012. It could’ve been the novelty—to prepare traditional Peruvian recipes with European cooking techniques—but more likely it was the outstanding results. Start with a Pisco Sour, a South American cocktail topped with egg white, a rare treat since this city is still catching on to the cocktail renaissance. If ordering a la carte, the ceviche, served with mix-ins of spicy fried corn, yucca, and carrot (mezcla is Spanish for mixture) is a must. But a majority of the mature and smartly dressed patrons order the C$49 five-course tasting menu, which includes two seafoods (all from environmentally responsible fisheries) and two meats. Thin slices of milk-fed veal tongue arrive with truffled peaches and a concoction of lime, maple, black sesame, and aji Amarillo—a pepper unique to Peru and frequently used by this kitchen. Servers astutely describe each course and leave ample time in between. For better or worse, voices carry in this relaxed space, making a weeknight feel like Saturday. Reservations are strongly recommended. Mezcla is tucked away in an unexpected spot for a restaurant, and finding it will require dedication. It’s worth it.
- Leslie Brokaw, Erin Trahan, Matthew Barber