Jalisco Cantina: Superbly Fresh Mexican Food

In Christine on The Scene by Christine McKellar

Local Restauranteurs Switch From Super to Superb

A few avid fans of two local Super Mex restaurants seemed at two ladies in a barfirst reluctant to embrace the change when owners Natasha and Ross Williams decided to rebrand their Eastside and Westside restaurants , says Natasha Williams.

“Feedback is very important to me. I read all of our customer comment cards and I listen. After twelve years with Super Mex, we felt that we couldn’t do all the things we wanted to in terms of offering more fresh items and being a little more authentic. We decided to just cut our ties with Super Mex and try things on our own.”

The rebranded restaurants, now Jalisco Cantina at Sunset & Pecos and Jalisco Cantina at Durango & Sunset, may look the same but the new menus reflect Williams’ determination toceviche and guac provide fresh and authentic Mexican food and quality tequila to their existing customers as well as to new customers.

“All our guacamole is fresh even if it’s on the side. A lot of restaurants will use an avocado puree on the side. All the yellow cheese in the restaurant is gone. There is nowhere in Mexico you will find yellow cheese! We brought in all of these beautiful cheeses like manchego, queso añejo, and Cotija cheese. Our flour tortillas are even homemade.”

Yesterday I spent a delightful two hours sampling some of the new  menu items. The appetizer ceviche is loaded with succulent chunks of lobster and white fish, and fresh shrimp—all perfectly blended with (real) lime juice, diced onion, cilantro and tomato. It’s topped with slices of fresh avocado and served with tortilla chips.  

According to Williams, fresh mexican quesidillathe most popular appetizer at Jalisco Cantina is the mushroom quesadilla. Four varieties of mushrooms sautéed with a hint of jalapeño and onion are topped with creamy white cheese and served toasted between two homemade four tortillas. A divine dish on its own, it’s served with garnishes of guac, sour cream and salsa Fresca.

The Mar y Tierra (sea and land) entrée for lunch or dinner is plenty for two: thin slices of tender carne asada steak are steak and bacon shrimp entreetopped with a half dozen plump bacon-wrapped shrimp and served with sliced fresh tomato and avocado, and accompanied by black beans and rice.  The Chili Verde pork is fork-tender and served with a choice of fresh flour or corn tortillas, with rice and beans on the side.

“We now offer three different types of salsa,” says Williams. “We have pico de gallo for people who can’t tolerate heat very well. We have improved upon our regular salsa and we have a very hot salsa made with habanero that will light you on fire.”

Based on personal experience, the house salsa at a Mexican fresh pure margaritasrestaurant is a critical indicator of how authentic the food is going to be. This particular salsa, created by Chef Homero, is one of the best hot salsas I’ve had in a long, long time. On a heat scale, I’d give it an 8—on a flavor scale, it gets a solid 10. “Homero’s Habanero” is a perfect example of how heat can enhance and not overpower: this salsa is almost a flavorful dish unto itself.

The state of Jalisco in Mexico is known for its genuine tequilas. “We picked the name because of that,” explains Williams. “We only serve 100 percent blue agave tequila in our Margaritas. We use real lime juice. We don’t use mixers or sweet and sour.”

Williams has plans to launch wine pairings at the Sunset and Pecos location in February. “A lot of people don’t realize that wine goes very well with Mexican food. I’m really excited about having guest speakers come in to share their expertise. We also plan on hosting tequila pairings as well.”

The Durango  location offers live blues music every Tuesday (8pm to 11pm) and Saturday (9pm to midnight). Both locations have happy hours and Monday night football specials. For more information and to view new menu items, please visit: http://jaliscocantina.com/

Locations: 3460 E. Sunset Road at Pecos, 6450 S. Durango Road at Sunset, Las Vegas NV 89120

(702) 436-5200 | (702) 312-8000