WORCESTER – There’s a big, new Mexican restaurant right across from the DCU Center in Worcester. Owner Mike Covino takes us on a culinary tour of Mezcal Tequila Cantina.

“To me, Mezcal is about flavor, color, and texture. We offer unbelievable, unrivaled guacamole. Fresh, made to order, great texture. Nothing but the freshest ingredients here with our food. Traditional plates, quesadillas, burritos, chimichangas, house specialties. Really amazing flavors, really a great dining experience.

“We have two Mezcals, we have one in Leominster. And our sort of our Flagship restaurant… We’re right across the street from the DCU Center. Perfect place to go before the show, after the show, during the show. Great spot.

“Really cool industrial lights. Big place, but there’s a lot of nooks and crannies. Lots of booths, lots of banquettes. Sort of a center-focused island bar with seats all the way around. 260 dining room seats, 36 bar stools, can take care of large parties, fun private events, guacamole bar, taco bar, just an awesome, awesome experience.

“The best thing we have is we have an amazing bar staff. Margaritas are still our most popular cocktail ordered in the world. We do it great with only fresh-squeezed juice, fresh-squeezed lemons and limes. Agave nectar for texture and body. Nothing but 100% blue agave, even our house tequila is 100% blue agave. We do margs by the pitcher. We actually have a big, giant super margarita as well. But margaritas by the pitcher are really, really popular.

Guacamole is the signature dish at Mezcal Tequila Cantina in Worcester. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Guacamole is the signature dish at Mezcal Tequila Cantina in Worcester. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“For us here at Mezcal, guacamole is by far the most important thing that we do. It’s our signature. It’s our identity. House guac has jalapeno and onion, and tomato cilantro, a fresh lime. But from there there’s an abundance of flavors. The Thai Rooster has Sriracha, black bean, dried pineapple, a little toasted coconut. Our Mediterranean guacamole is unbelievable with a little bit of garlic, olive oil, sundried tomato, kalamata olive, feta cheese in there. Crunchy has been on the menu since 2006: almonds, peppitas, jicama, so really gives it that wonderful crunchy texture. I would say 95% of people when they come here, get the guacamole and they’re really, really glad they did.

“Our nachos are epic. Amazing nachos obviously built, layers of flavor. But it’s that beautiful ground beef, sort of laid in between all the chips. The cheese is laid in so it’s not just on the top. So you can really find everything kind of woven in through all the nachos so even though it’s stacked high, you’re going to get those flavors all the way through. Definitely epic.

“Queso fundido is amazing. It’s like Mexican fondue, so comforting because the cheese is all melted, it’s nice and gooey. It’s a mix of Mexican cheeses, put a little bit of jalapeno and tomato in there, fresh chips, a little bit of tortillas for dipping. You can also add bacon or chorizo sausage or ground beef. Just adds a little more flavor, more richness to that queso.

“When it comes to entrees, I definitely recommend the roasted chicken mole. We stuff it with bacon, a maple bacon, sundried tomatoes and caramelized onions. Drizzle that wonderful mole sauce, a little garlicky sticky spinach on the side. The crispiness of the skin, the flavor of the mole, layered with the stuffing, awesome dish; great dining experience.

“People usually love going out to steakhouses, and you don’t think steak when you come to a Mexican restaurant. But if you want a sirloin steak, you should get a steak here. As soon as you take in that richness of the sirloin, the marbling, the flavor, layered with that cumin and those spices – total flavor explosion.

“One of our most traditional plates is the chicken enchiladas. Chicken and cheese, rolled in a flour tortilla, baked. But the best part is they drizzle each one with a different sauce. You have a mole rojo and a salsa verde. So I think the chicken, the melted cheese, the flour tortilla, and those two sauces together, it’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth.

“If you’re still hungry for dessert, you gotta get the fried ice cream. It’s like a nice crispy coconut and corn flake crusted ice cream, with a little bit of whipped cream, strawberry drizzle, and some nice melted chocolate.

“We take our creative liberties, but there’s an authenticity to the sauces. The flavor, the color, and the texture are the three most important things to us. So in delivering that Mexican experience, we’re making things from scratch here. So you come here and taste everything from that guacamole all the way through those entrees, they’re going to be satisfied.”

You can find Mezcal at 30 Major Taylor Boulevard in Worcester and 20 Central Street in Leominster, or online at mezcalcantina.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.



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