La Mestiza has a very strong grasp on the Fry-o-lator arts. Here is a shot of the -half- basket of fresh and hot tortilla chips they set down in front of you before ordering.
You will have a devil of a hard time finding better tortilla chips in all of Madison. These are amazingly crispy, warm, flaky and just bursting with flavor. This -half- basket of chips are worthy of a visit to La Mestiza all by themselves! Why they only brought us a -half- basket, I will never know.
Our -half- basket of chips came with a total of 3 tablespoons of two different salsas (that's not much). A rather flavorless tomatillo salsa and an absolutely fabulous smoked chili salsa which I really needed about 10x more of, which easily would have still fit into the tiny salsa bowl it was provided in. The tiny amount of salsa in each bowl was so little it made dipping chips into it almost a moot point.
We got some flautas de pollo, or chicken flutes. It's pulled chicken which has been rolled in a corn tortilla and fried. Theses were simply dressed in sour cream and a green salsa. The very simplicity of this dish is what makes it great.... plus fried! yum! The flautas were a tasty appetizer, more about the chicken later. (not pictured)
I got the chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. This mole was an absolutely delight, A great mole sauce is not easy to make. It's a balancing act often using dozens of ingredients from pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, plantains, to chocolate, cinnamon, garlic, onions, always with a host of peppers to form the backbone of the sauce. It's a little sweet, a little spicy, and chock full of a complex but balanced flavor. This one was excellent. Easily the finest mole in Madison.
We also ordered the chicken enchiladas with mole verde. This was a very different sauce then the first mole, full of pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs. It was much more fresh and vital then the other mole, and not as rich. This was absolutely tasty and well worth the visit.
Both of the enchiladas were tasty and the sauces were filled with incredible flavors. However the chicken inside of them was rather bland and flavorless with the texture of chemically tenderized meat. As a blank canvas for the sauces it does well, but I can't help but think that La Mestiza is missing out on a fabulous dish by using it this way.
The half measures for the chips and salsa's at the beginning of the meal could have just been an oversight, but it doesn't give the most welcoming vibe to this -stuffed into a strip mall- restaurant with entree's in the $12-$15 range. The food is well worth the price, but the atmosphere leans towards the cheaper end.
All over a delicious meal and well worth a stop.
Rating: <| <| < (2.5 Tortilla Chips)
La Mestiza website
6644 Odana Rd,
Madison WI, 53719
Mondays - CLOSED
Sunday, Tuesday through Thursday 11am to 9pm
Friday and Saturday 11am to 10 pm