I’m a little late getting to this due to the approaching end of the school year, but I have a lot to say, so let’s get down to it! dLeña is the next stop on our mezcal bar journey, a gorgeous space that I found in a google search. Their bar looks impressively big and fancy, and wooden ceiling beams make you feel like you’re in a hipster hunting lodge.
We wanted a flight of mezcal and it turns out they have one! Key word: one. “Whoa whoa,” you might be thinking. “I thought this was a mezcal bar? Wouldn’t a wide variety of mezcals be not only a great complement to their wood-fired food, but also the very point of this bar?” Well, friends, I literally don’t know what to tell you. That big, fancy bar is all shine and no substance. Here’s the flight we got:
To add insult to injury, this $24 flight included miniscule pours of the three (not particularly good) mezcals, like they accidentally poured it with a toy jigger from a child’s play kitchen. That glass on the left? V-fucking-8. Kill me.
So not a great start. We all ordered unremarkable cocktails and my husband’s mezcal margarita did not taste like mezcal at all.
Here was our starter: the guacamole. It’s a healthy serving of pretty standard guac (no complaints) with vaguely interesting tortillas that they cooked over an open flame to crisp them up. We ate most of it, pushed it to one side of the table to make space for other plates, and then throughout the rest of the meal were approached no less than five times to ask if we were finished with it. Omg, NO. Go away. The fifth time, I told the server we were still working on it and she took it away anyway! When I launch my pop music career, I’m going to write a song called “Unforgiveable” and it’s going to be about someone taking away my unfinished bowl of guacamole.
We (i.e. me) ordered three plates of tacos: the hongos, the short rib, and the atún.
I’ve included here only the picture of the hongos ones, which were the dark horse favorite for me. Honestly, all the tacos were pretty good and all of them featured elements from the wood grill, including the slightly roasted tortillas and corn. The mushrooms had a hearty, smoky flavor. The meat in the short rib was also really well cooked. All in all, tacos get a thumbs up from me.
We had a few other small dishes, including the burrata (MIL’s favorite, kinda hard to fuck up, also came with watermelon), and broccolini (large plate of grilled but underseasoned broccolini that was not even worth photographing, and with my husband immediately declared inferior to my broccolini). Last but not least is the asparragos. Good grill flavor, rich romesco-y sauce, random poached egg that made the dish hard to split. It was good, but I don’t have super strong feelings about it. The waitstaff kept trying to take away this half-eaten plate too.
Price: $50 per person.
Bottom line: Idk, the tacos were tasty but overpriced? Don’t come here if you’re expecting mezcal. And the service brings to mind my favorite line from the movie Ghost World: it’s not “so bad, it’s good,” it’s “so bad it’s gone past good and back to bad again.”