Guaca & Molé
11597 boul. de Salaberry/ rue Du Marché
Dollard des Ormeaux, Québec
Tel : (514) 542-4452
Cost : $ 109.69 (not including tax and tip)
Chef Hats: 3.5
The suburbanites of the West Island have been waiting for a while for the opening of a good Mexican restaurant in the area. In the last year, we saw the opening of Quesada, a fast food chain restaurant on Sources Blvd that serves tacos, burritos and nachos. We were still lacking a good Mexican fine dining restaurant where one can sit, eat, and relax with a good alcoholic beverage in a nice festive atmosphere. It had not been since the bygone years of Chi Chi’s Restaurant on St John’s or Mexicali Rosa on St Charles that this sleepy community had experienced a good Mexican restaurant without having to travel miles into town.
So the level of anticipation was at an all-time high until Restaurant Guaca & Molé finally put an end to so many years of waiting. That being said, I was one of those sleepy suburbanites who passed daily in front of the site of this new restaurant at the Marché de L’Ouest since its announcement in spring. Eagerly anticipating and waiting for its opening in July, in the spot that housed the now defunct Pêche Peche or the late Katoreya.
I had read that the Chef-owner, Hugo Leon de Gante, a native of Mérida, and part of the team at the much applauded Mezcla Restaurant, was going to spearhead the project. I knew that it was not going to be the typical Tex-Mex type restaurant that most of us are used to eating. Anyone who is familiar with Mezcla restaurant knows that they are very creative and different with their plates but still infusing it with the authenticity of its regional cooking.
At Guaca & Molé, Hugo Leone Gante, not only showcases the flavors of his homeland but different dishes from other Mexican provinces done in a contemporary style with his special touches producing a true soulful experience of different flavors of the region of the Yucatan.
This 120-seat restaurant boasts a 40-seat terrasse that is privately secluded with cedar trees where you can enjoy a multitude of your favorite Mexican drinks. Inside you fill find a tequila bar with long high tables for quick bites and drinks and a more formal dining area with tables and banquettes alongside the wall.
The premise is bright with a mix of chic modern style, glass doors and floor to ceiling windows all around. Suspended lighting in various forms, with white walls and colorful decorative masks. The decor is easy on the eyes with light wood tables and brown leather banquettes, with splashes of color like sky blue/yellow tables and chairs all evoking the colors of Mexico.
The awe inspiring factor here is the painted mural of faces symbolic with the Dias des los Muertos. In Aztec culture, skulls are positive symbol, not only meaning death but also of rebirth. The painted faces are a powerful symbol for the ability for humans to get in touch with their darker, chaotic side and to overcome fear of death and celebrate life. Its tradition is a mixture of Catholic beliefs with the religions of indigenous Mexican people. Although a bit scary to some, the mural and its mysteriousness create a festive fun and vibrant ambiance. It also may bring good luck to a restaurant situated in a spot that has not had much luck lately. I am keeping my fingers crossed and was eager after such a long wait to start off my celebration in this beautiful locale.
We started our celebration with two large margaritas for $9.00, shaken and frozen and a strawberry daiquiri for $ 8.50. The drinks were potent and powerful, and not at all watered down even with the ice. They came rimmed with cayenne pepper for added punch, not the usual salt or sugar. I enjoyed my margarita this way better and thought it different from the norm. Served on the house with the margaritas was a bowl of fresh homemade nacho chips and fresh salsa. They bring you as much a requested and keep refilling these all night long at no charge.
For my entree I ordered Tortilla soup which came served in a colorful Mexican carafe, enough for two or three people .It was packed with flavor, a dark tomato base and stock broth with large chunks of avocado and radishes and thin strips of tortilla. It was very tasty and not too thick, very light and enough for two, perfect soul food.
Second entrée was the guacamole for $ 7.00. It came served in a large mortar type bowl with fresh tortilla and more nacho chips. Equally good with both nachos and tortilla, the guacamole was creamy, with little chunks of fresh avocado and pieces of tomato salsa, garnished with sprigs of fresh herbs for $ 7.00. All entrées are priced between $7.00 to $13.00, all being of generous portions.
The third entrée was the Mexican Poutine for $7.00. For those die hard poutine lovers, this is a must. Slathered in their delicious Molé sauce, panela cheese and coriander aioli, it was decadent and packed with flavor. A creamy cheese mound atop golden crispy fries, this was more than enough for two people.
Other items on the menu for small eaters are the Quesadillas, starting from basic with cheese at $7.00 or with chicken, steak or chorizo varying in prices till $12.00. We had the basic cheese, served between two tortillas, great for a late night snack at the bar when continuing your festive partying with a few drinks.
For a palate refresher before our main meal, we had the Caesar salad -$9.00, which they boasted was invented in Tijuana Mexico in 1925, at least they claim this one was. Romaine lettuce leaves with cortija cheese, chorizo bites, tostadas slivers and Caesar house dressing. I loved the crunchiness of the chorizo bites and tostadas. The Caesar dressing was homemade and not overpowering. This is a perfect combination as a side to a heavier meal or alone for those who want to eat light.
We continued our meal with Chicken Burrito ‘’Pollo a la Parilla’’ for $11.00, two large tortilla wraps filled with marinated chicken in maple and chipotle, filled with guacamole and marinated radish and black bean purée that were really creamy. This was delicious and very filling, enough after our large meal to take home. The chicken contained a hint of sweetness, with the chipotle enhancing the flavors with a kick but not making it too spicy and just perfect.
The Chicken Enchiladas plate came with three soft corn tortillas and sautéed quash and yucca, the vegetables were deliciously crisp and tasty, but I found the mole sauce over bearing. A fine drizzle would have complimented this meal much more easily. Do not get me wrong the Molé sauce is really good here, but you need to be a diehard fan.
The Arrachera Steak Tacos for $ 12, 00, came in two small soft tortilla shells with slices of sautéed tender steak. Topped with fresh, coriander, marinated onions, avocado, pinto beans and green salsa and chorizo puree; they smelled and tasted like a Mexican summer breeze.
Service was genuinely friendly. Our waiter Luis was more than accommodating and he gave us tidbits of his native country. I was a joy to talk to and very attentive. He went his extra way to make sure our bowl of chips was always filled. When it was time to leave, he brought us our bill promptly when we asked for it.