Lazaranda Mexican Seafood Grill quietly opened nearly two weeks ago in Addison. The new Mexican restaurant is part of a very small chain located in Monterrey that includes five of their restaurants, and is the first of its brand to open in the United States. The casual restaurant serves primarily grilled seafood dishes made with a lazaranda, a small basket that holds the fish while roasted on the grill.
We checked out the new restaurant this week to get a feel for its surroundings and menu and were quite pleased with the findings. We chose not to attend the media blitz that occured before the opening and paid for our meal this past weekend.
The restaurant is casual but has an upbeat feel, possibly due to the soft lights at the bar. You will notice on entry that the bar has a design that is becoming more popular with restaurants with easy access to the outdoor patio via a large window that opens up giving the restaurant a breezy feel.
The cocktails that the bartenders make are top notch. Mostly high end margaritas made with fresh juices with a selection of 64 brands of tequilas, but even the house frozens were quite spiffy with plenty of alcohol detected.
Then there is the open kitchen. These are also more popular in the restaurant design world and Lazaranda’s is extreme. The kimono is totally open for all to see the inner working of the kitchen.
As for the food, think fresh. House-made corn tortillas are cranked out each dayusing their own masa. Fish is fresh and never frozen, and there is little or no skimping on the ingredients.
The litmus test for a Mexican restaurant, and maybe this only applies to the Tex Mex variety – which Lazaranda is not – are the chips and salsa. First impressions do not mean a lot, they mean every thing. Although the bright red thin strips of fried corn tortillas are, well, thin, they do taste fresh with a hint of lime. We might like to see a full on chip offered to hold the salsa. The sauce has thick chunks of fresh tomato with an ever-so-tiny bite that kicks back with every third chip, almost salsa cruda-style. We later found that there are other sauces with more heat available for the asking, and even a very thin and creamy bright green avocado salsa that was packed with flavor.
Our entrees almost played lower brass with all the activity bustling about, but once they arrived proved to stand up quite well. Since the restaurant is named after a style of cooking that includes a fish, it seemed only right to order the fish of the day which was a red snapper. There were numerous sauces available and we chose one that seemed light and airy, but instead was a bit heavy handed in cream and butter. This did not lessen the experience, but just washed away any eye-appeal the grilled fish may have taken on.
The Florentina Sauce is made with fish stock, butter sautéed spinach, white wine, cream and a queso blanco. Again, it looked like it may have been way over sauced, but we scooped up each drop with the before mentioned corn torts.
Interesting note, many of the items on the menu such as enchiladas and tacos are offered ala carte. This gives an excellent opportunity to create your own mix and match platters. With smaller items such as the lobster taco stuffed with buttery lobster, refried beans, avocado and rice, or the chicken mole sauced enchilada, the idea of making ones own platter does have its appeal.
Other items of interest include the slow roasted osso-bucco style pork shank and the Cochinita Pibil. Traditionally Cochinita Pibil is marinated suckling pig, colored with annatto seed, and roasted wrapped in a banana leaf.
We enjoyed the experience and feel it is worth the drive to Addison where the restaurant is located.