Last week, my friends and I booked a table at a new restaurant in town - Isalita. Owned by the same man who started Mani Osteria, Adam Baru, the restaurant features unique Mexican tapas developed by Mani's original chef, Brendan McCall.
In the spirit of restaurant week, the chef had prepared a special 3-course menu for $28 per person. Eager to sample the spicy goodies that this new restaurant had to offer, my friends and I began pouring over the menu.
While we waited, we munched on creamy guacamole, fresh pico de gallo, and unlimited homemade chips.
Needless to say, giving us unlimited chips was a mistake. I easily could have filled up just on those, and almost did, to be completely honest. I have a tortilla and guacamole problem. If it's in front of me, I eat it!
Fortunately for my chip problem, our entrees came out soon. Joanna and I both started with the salad, a crispy, tangy, and fresh dish that took me by surprise due to its taste and size.
Since Isalita is a tapas style restaurant, most of their dishes are quite small portions meant for sharing with the table. This salad easily could have filled me up on its own, though, and Joanna and I both ended up only eating half of ours so we could save room for our second and third courses.
Mallory got adorable little chorizo sopes. So cute and pretty!
For the second round, Joanna and I each went for enchiladas. Hers was a traditional chicken and cheese, topped with sour cream and radishes.
I took a leap of faith and went for the enchilada verdea - a delicious and melty tortilla filled with lump crab meat, shrimp, cheese, and salsa verde.
I didn't take any pictures of the filling, because it was honestly a gooey mess, but I can say it was delicious and very unique. As a seafood lover, I'm fond of any shellfish, crab, or shrimp dish, but I'm used to them being prepared in a simpler European style. The salsa verde and jalapeno spices took these flavors to a whole new level, and I would come back again just to get these.
Mallory, who seems to have a knack for picking the most attractive food on the menu, got these fresh and colorful fish tacos for her second course. Crispy battered white fish in a small tortilla topped with a sprinkling of radishes and delicately draping avocado - yum!
I'm a sucker for avocado, so these are another dish I'd definitely come back for.
Finally, the dessert, which we were all completely too full to eat but finished anyway (of course).
This tres leches cake was a synthesis of unique but complimenting flavors, including spongey cake, coconut, three different milks, mango, and kiwi. I'm usually a chocolate desserts-only kind of girl, but even I bought into this cake due to its delicate preparation.
All in all, Isalita is the most unique Mexican restaurant in the area. Be aware that portions are small and meant for sharing, so don't come here looking for a quick, enormous, and cheap mexican meal. Also, appearances can be deceiving. Despite the size of the dishes my friends and I were served, we ended up not being able to finish 5 out of the 6 entrees we ordered due to their richness. Don't be afraid to start small, because many of these (like my enchilada) are incredibly creamy and filling. Definitely a good place to head to if you and your friends want to enjoy some drinks and tacos at the bar.