Ma Cherie’s work is right next door along Mercer so we were eyeing Milagro for some time now. Finally we made it there for lunch.
The restaurant looked especially appealing in the summer months with its large patio on John - woven chairs filled with guests on sunny days. In early October it was understandably empty outside.
The restaurant looked quite dim from the outside window, so we had short-lived doubts whether the place was even opened. Ma Cherie noticed their lowercase wordmark had a linear texture, making it simple, trendy and light.
As we walked in, we were welcomed by a fork between a hostess booths to the left and kitchen to the right – kind of odd in terms of the first impression. But there were interesting details to compensate including large wooden carvings in shape of leaves and dripped candles with plenty of colours. The main sitting area vaulted space was culminated in a white ceiling somewhere high above in relative dimness. Some of their oversized pillars were wrapped in a chalk board material and Mexican movie posters were towering above us. To summarize, the atmosphere felt simple, but it could be fitting for Mexican theme plus the colonial vibe might have been significantly more applicable in the summer with a cold Mojito in your hand.
SWIRL & PALATE
There was lots to read on the menu with a whole separate section for alcoholic beverages. agave flights, plenty of margaritas, list of tequila and mezcales and a separate selection with wines (blancos, rosados, tinto) - an appropriate selection for a dinner with a spark. There was Salsa music playing in the background as we ordered La Perla tacos with Beer Battered Cod and Tinga, their pulled chicken plate. Although it was busy for lunch, our waitress Anne did not keep us waiting for our food. The tacos had habanero crema, pico de gallo and tropical slaw inside two soft shell tortillas. It was meant to be mild from what we gathered, but ended up more like medium. It actually, turned out to be a very good shareable dish for a reasonable price. Tinga had its pulled chicken simmered in tomato and chipotle with a side of Mexican rice and sliced avocado. Not dry at all, however spicy once again. The nice addition of avocado made helped out palate take a break from the spicyness. The generous load of rice had an interesting texture (buckwheat like) lacking moisture. Several tortilla were served on a side. The dish was considerably spicier and we enjoyed it less, since we felt there was something missing. The portion was large and also offered for a decent price.
This is an inaugural Milagro location and it has been around for close to ten years now. Quite an achievement for a downtown restaurant, but there is more to like here besides the ability to stay afloat. Milagro was generous with food quantity and quality, hospitable and fast. There were also some intriguing desserts: churros, flan, natilla, truffa maya, etc. Our plan is to be back here in the summer and try out some of these on the patio.