La Fresca (Minneapolis) – Outstanding Hidden Gem

BL MenuLocated on South Grand Avenue just north of 48th Street La Fresca is the epitome of the local hidden gem. When you enter under the bright colored awning you will notice the long bar to the right and the dining area to the left. The glass enclosed kitchen is in the rear of the room. At 615 on a Wednesday night the restaurant was already two-thirds filled and by 645 there were few of the 35-40 seats remaining. People now know that La Fresca is offering delicious food at reasonable prices. The dining room is bright with large watermelon prints adorning one wall, a Mexican Indian painting the rear wall and seated on shelves along the left wall are statues of wooden Mariachi bands including a few skeleton renditions. The space is bright and fun.

BL CervicheI ordered the CEVICHE DE HUACHINANGO for my appetizer. The slightly cured snapper was accented with yellow tomatoes, lime, jalapeño peppers, jicama, sea salt, and finished with avocado mousse and ancho chili oil. The mixture sat on three purple-corn tortillas. I was not sure whether to lift the tortillas or try to cut with a knife and fork, so I did both. A quick bite was a little messy when the tortilla broke into a couple of pieces, so I moved to the knife and fork. This seemed out of place but worked well. The flavors were outstanding. The snapper was lightly cured, maintained its mild flavor. The other ingredients delivered balanced acidity and spice from the ancho chili oil, and the guacamole mousse on added a little creaminess and the cilantro added another flavor profile.

BL PorkFor my entrée I decided on the LECHON, medallions of herb crusted pork tenderloin served over a combination of ayocote black bean mole sauce, fennel, potatoes, asparagus, smoked bacon, roasted poblano peppers, pickled habanero onions, and micro cilantro. The four medallions were perfectly cooked to medium rare, just a touch of pink on the interior. The flavors of the vegetable mélange was outstanding, balanced between the salty bacon, a touch of heat from the peppers and the crunch of the asparagus. This was a fantastic dish.

Overall, La Fresca is a great find, serving outstanding nouvelle Mexican cuisine in a relaxed and fun environment.

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