La Casita Mexicana

This narrow Bell kitchen where Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin Del Campo work the stoves represents the refined logic behind traditional Mexican cooking. The char of thin-cut beef cecina contrasts with a salad of cactus paddle strips. The Veracruz-style sauce demands that the tomatoes be reduced enough so that the capers, olives, and chile guero register when the sauce infuses the fish. With Mexican cuisine entering exciting times, this humble restaurant has become crucial.


Top Ten Mexican Restaurants: No. 6, November 2010

The baritone of the great Vicente Fernández lends stateliness to an art-filled dining room swathed in warm orange. But nothing prepares you for the restraint of the food. The tortillas of the enchilada de queso are dragged through a sharp red sauce, cotija cheese is sprinkled inside, and the whole is folded like a crepe. Delicate and light with a brilliant austerity, such cooking has turned Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo into stars on Univision. With the chile en nogada—the pair makes a definitive version of the Puebla specialty—the key is the charred poblano pepper offset by sweet, creamy pecan sauce. Breakfast chilaquiles, a nest of chips in a smoky chipotle broth accompanied by eggs, is particularly good.