I had a really terrific takeout dinner from Reyes Mezcaleria recently. And I don’t mean to qualify that statement to mean “good for takeout food.” It was a wonderful meal and some of the best food I’ve had in months.
I needn’t have been surprised, chef Wendy Lopez has established herself as one of the area’s best chef regardless of the cuisine she’s cooking. But she does seem to shine when the menu features the foods of her native Mexico. (Michoacán, to be specific, where you’ll find an area known as Los Reyes.) Reyes Mezcaleria is owned by Jason and Sue Chin and falls under the umbrella of their Good Salt Restaurant Group, which also includes Baldwin Park restaurants Seito Sushi and the Osprey.
For our feast, my pandemic pal and I started with the ceviche, which included firm hunks of halibut “cooked” in citrus juices and mixed with small heirloom tomato halves, juicy slices of oranges, avocado and red onions. Sprinkled atop the ceviche was puffed quinoa, which added a pleasant bit of crunch to the bite.
We also had a tamale, which had roast pork encased in masa meal and tied up in a corn husk with more heirloom tomatoes and red onions nestled nearby. A pulpy salsa roja was slathered atop the tamale and chopped cilantro added a fresh piquancy.
The duck enchilada de Michoacán was unusual in that the meat was not incorporated into the enchilada. Instead, the corn tortilla was filled with cheese (some on top, too) and baked then served next to sliced seared duck breast all in a row. The dish was accompanied by escabeche pickles of radish and carrot.
I can’t remember when I’ve had a chile relleno as satisfying as the one that rounded out our meal. The roasted poblano pepper was stuffed with beans, cheese and corn, coated in a beer batter and crisply fried, accompanied by a pleasantly spicy chipotle sauce. I ate everything right down to the chile’s stem.
Ordering was facilitated via an online form that allowed me to add a gratuity, prepay and specify curbside pickup. However, the form is not active when the restaurant is not open, so it is not possible to order in advance for a specific pickup time.
When I arrived at the restaurant, I pulled up to the actual curb out front, called the restaurant, and soon had my dinner in the trunk of my car headed home.
I noticed several outdoor tables in front of Reyes, and I was tempted to eat there. Perhaps soon. Still, the food would have been just as wonderful no matter where it was eaten.
Reyes Mezcaleria is at 821 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for dinner daily and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The phone number is 407-868-9007.