NEWBURYPORT – Do you crave tacos that are really fresh and totally authentic? Look no further than Metzy’s Cantina. Owner Erik Metzdorf created a festive space on the North Shore where you can have tasty tacos, inventive apps, and a whole lot of fun.
Metzy’s started as a food truck that became so popular, they had to open up a restaurant. Erik and his team set up shop inside an abandoned MBTA building, located on the Newburyport stop of the commuter rail. They decked it out with high ceilings, hanging lights and a whole lot of Mexican inspired art.
“People come up to me on the street all the time and they say, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe somebody finally did something with that building. Thank you, thank you, thank you.’”
Once people lay their lips on some of the tasty fare, they turn to Chef Anthony Leone with their thanks. He created a Mexican inspired menu with an American twist. You can find traditional starts to your meal like house made chips served with salsa and guacamole, or the oh-so-cheesy Queso Fundido.
“What’s not to like about hot cheese with chips?” Erik asked. “It’s our own blend and it comes out in a cast iron skillet; It looks nice. It’s delicious. It’s sharable.”
There are authentic Chicarrons and Nachos topped with black beans, jalapenos, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. The key to this app, according to Chef Anthony, is the layering of the cheese.
“I think the cheese underneath the first row of chips is what makes an order of nachos proper. If you just pile the cheese on, you don’t get the cheese on the bottom.”
By far the most interesting of the appetizers has to be Metzy’s Hush Puppies, an unexpected addition to this Mexican menu.
“They’re black bean and sweet potato hush puppies rolled in panko and they’re deep fried. We top it with a little chipotle sour cream,” Chef described. “We sell so many of them; they’re such a popular thing.”
Since Tacos are the inspiration behind the place, you can be sure Metzy’s offers everything from traditional fish tacos fried in panko, or a crispy fried pork belly version topped with a mango habanero salsa, to inventive tacos like one based on a Cuban Sandwich.
“Cuban Taco is one of the most original things that we have,” Chef Anthony declared. “It’s braised pork in a corn tortilla with lettuce and pico de gallo, and we have a dijonnaise sauce that we make in-house. It’s topped with a fried pickle, Swiss cheese, and ham, so it gives you that classic Cuban sandwich-type flavor in a taco.”
Even the Steak Taco is out of the ordinary, served with lettuce, pico de gallo and chipotle sour cream, and then garnished with a fried onion.
The burritos at Metzy’s come in one size – GRANDE – and include fillings like panko crusted cod, pico de gallo, guacamole and spicy tartar sauce; or you can try one overloaded with braised pork.
“Our braised pork, which we cook for 12 hours in a special sauce that really makes it tender and really, really jumps out at you,” Chef Anthony said. “In the burrito, there’s guacamole, black beans, rice, lettuce, pico de gallo, and our famous chipotle sour cream, all rolled up. It’s just a fantastic flavor. And it’s big; it’s very, very filling.”
Since they are always serving commuters, Metzy’s offers a few items to grab and go at breakfast time. There’s an overstuffed chorizo burrito loaded up with scrambled eggs, sausage, cheese, and chipotle sour cream for a handheld way to start your day. Or you can dig into their breakfast bowl.
“It’s filled with scrambled eggs and spicy potatoes with peppers and cheese,” Anthony explained, “a marriage of all our flavors and the spices that we use for almost everything. That really makes this a signature-type dish.”
Whether it is grab and go at breakfast or stay and play for dinner, you’re always going to have a fiesta at Metzy’s Cantina. You can find it at 5 Boston Way in Newburyport, and online at metzys.com.
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