Traditional Mexican in Palo Alto

We were invited to the soft opening of Reposado, a new Mexican place in Palo Alto, last night. They bill themselves as authentic, traditional Mexican with everything made from scratch – from margarita mix and tortillas to mole and soups. 

For starters I had queso fundido with fresh, hot corn tortillas. Steve had sopitos 3-way (beef, chicken and pork). My queso was extremely tasty, with wild mushrooms and lots of flavorful cheese. The tortillas were something special. Hot and fresh, they had a lighter texture than normal corn tortillas, but still tasted like corn. Steve’s sopitos were soft corn disks topped with very flavorful stewed meat. The beef was in a rich tomato sauce, the chicken was in what seemed like a tomatillo sauce and the pork was carnitas style. 

For main course I had carne asada and Steve had mole crusted colorado rack of lamb. I ordered my steak medium rare, and the kitchen hit it spot on. The carne asada is marinated hanger steak served with a drizzle of pepper sauce (I think it may have been Guajillo pepper sauce but don’t quote me on that) over an amazing fresh corn pudding. It also comes with a quesadilla. Everything on the dish was well cooked. The corn was like nothing I ever tasted, the kernels were whole but were in a sweet, creamy sauce that enhanced their flavor and complemented the steak perfectly. Steve’s rack of lamb was served medium well (on the recommendation of the kitchen) with mashed potatoes and a spicy pepper sauce. It was probably the tenderest piece of meat I’ve eaten in a long time. It was flavorful without a lot of heat. The pepper sauce had some heat but not enough to overwhelm the palate, there was also a vinegar edge to it that tasted almost like tamarind. 

Midway through the meal we were convinced by the waiter (not that it took too much convincing) to try one of their margaritas. We have had margaritas in a lot of places and this was without a doubt one of the best margaritas we’ve ever had. It was well balanced and very tasty. As with everything, they use fresh ingredients and even make their own sour mix. Tommy’s has nothing on them. 

We did have dessert and were not disappointed at all. Steve had flan. Well executed and tasty, with a dried fruit compote. Very tasty. I had the taquitos. These were a light, rolled cookie with a creamy filling. We never did quite figure out what the filling was, but it was similar to a pastry cream. The taquitos were served over macerated mango and strawberries and topped with a scoop of orange sherbet and garnished with coconut foam. It was light, refreshing and very tasty. All the pieces of the dish worked well individually and together, even the coconut foam. 

The space itself is open and airy. The walls are exposed concrete and the ceiling is exposed beams with skylights. The stainless steel bar downstairs divides the space into “restaurant” and bar. There is also a loft which reviews say contains a second bar, but we didn’t get up there. The kitchen itself is glassed in, so that diners can see in, but the noise and bustle of the kitchen doesn’t disturb diners, nor do diners disturb the staff. We had an early reservation and our meal was one of the first served. By the time we left the place was nearly full. It was bustling but not so noisy you couldn’t have a conversation. 

The service was great for a first night. In fact, I’ve been to a lot of functioning, established places that had worse service on their best nights. There was clearly training going on and staff were still learning their roles and how to best communicate with the kitchen and the diners. That being said, the meal was paced well and we were not waiting overly long between courses, nor did we feel rushed.

For 3 courses and a glass of wine meals ran around $60 a person, including tip. They open on Monday and I suspect we’ll be going back more than we probably should.

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