Tuesday, December 1, 2009

cozy cuisine at coyote crossing

On a recent crisp evening, B and I briefly traveled to Conshohocken's Coyote Crossing where we were introduced and amazed by the cozy Mexican cuisine of Chef Carlos Melendez. Sculpting appropriate-sized portions with flawless amounts of spice, the chef's assorted menu of authentic tastes and textures was appealing and unforgettable, and easily became an eatery I'd plan to revisit time after time again.

Embracing the fall season, Coyote Crossing prepares two pumpkin puree cocktails that, coming from an obsessed squash lover, were top-notch. The pumpkin pie martini, rimmed with globs of honey and crusted with graham cracker crumbs, is a perfect desserty sip, which to me, could please my taste buds at any time of the day. The pumpkin margarita, which intrigued me because fruity-and-tequila are a well-known pair, but pumpkin-and-tequila? Something I had to try! Interesting enough, the taste was nicely balanced and light, and showcased why the eatery's margaritas are known as memorable.
The baby asparagus soup, blended with jalapenos and swirled with cream, was sophisticated and lightly spicy, offering B and I a highly enthusiastic introduction to Chef Melendez's handiwork.
The black bean soup served with sides of Mexican Chorizo, Ajo croutons and queso fresco that, when added within the creamy blend, pure pleasure was created.

The December salad constructed atop fluffy, fresh mixed field greens and layered with slices of pears and unseasonally-fresh strawberries, candied nuts and goat cheese, was tart and tasty. Drizzled with housemade balsamic vingrette, the salad course may have been something similar to what I've eaten before, but this time, it was done twice as good.

House made crepes pumped with Huitlacoche (Mexican corn truffles) dosed with a smokey poblano sauce were, most definitely, my favorite part of the meal. Huitlacoches, known as corn smut, are probably the best fungus I've ever allowed enter my mouth. The dainty gluttony of this plate has almost been indescribable, with the ideal matching of the velvet texture of the truffles with the sharp bite of the sauce, I could eat this combination every single night for the rest of my dear life.

The intermetzo was an icy mint-mulled mojito sorbet that pleasantly revealed any fullness that I had been so far experiencing. Delicate and light, the cocktail-inspired meal break was a scoop I could never forget.

The Tampiquena strip steak platter may have appeared a bit overwhelming, but the garlic marinated beef prepared additionally with adobo and herbs allowed me to receive my second wind of an appetite around the main course. Fresh and nicely zinged guacamole was also available with the dish, aside a roasted green tomatillo chicken enchilada, refried beans, and a decent side of sauteed poblanos with onions and cream.

Sculpted around one of the chili peppers that are the backbone of Mexican cooking, the Halibut Guajillo, dosed in a decent amount of the zesty, yet tangy sauce, defined what Chef Rick Bayless once said about the popular pepper: "These are workhorse chiles with a lot of dazzle."

The tres leches chocolate cake, decadent and comfortingly moist, would have any lactose intolerant sadling wishing for a second breath. Typically meshed with regular milk, cream and condensed milk, the triple dairy threat was dense and delicious, and was inescapable for me to have just one bite.
A dessert of flan seemed fitting to order in this establishment, but I would have been remiss if I hadn't after my ridiculously-sized mouthfuls. A sucker for sweets, the concluding silky caramel custard delightfully imbued with richness, was impressive and not overly sweet.

With such an overall positive experience at Coyote Crossing, I can't wait to see what Melendez cooks up next, but I would be just fine, if the Huitlacoche crepes stay on his menu forever.