El Rayo’s New Cantina is a Hot Little Watering Hole

9 May

I had been dying to try out El Rayo’s newest addition, El Rayo Cantina, for weeks when my friend Brandi suggested we go there for a girl’s night dinner. I arrived a little early since they don’t take reservations to (quite happily) find that she had called ahead to get our name on the list. SCORE! So, that gave me some time to sit down and order a specialty cocktail and chow down on some of their house chicharones before she arrived.

I ordered the Slow Burn to start. I’d like to start of by saying I am not a tequila kind of girl, but I decided to expand my horizons since I was in a Mexican restaurant that serves so many amazing tequilas. The Slow Burn consists of habanero, black pepper, and chipotle infused tequila, lime juice, a hint of dry vermouth, olive brine and triple sec and then rimmed with what they call a “spicy Oaxaca mystery powder.” It was spicy and intense. I really liked it, but didn’t see how someone could stomach more than one, literally, I almost have heartburn just thinking about it, but if you like spicy liquor this was an interesting and inventive drink. I have never had anything like it.

The Slow Burn

Brandi ordered her usual—La Ciudad. It’s made with tequila and lime juice. Brandi described it as an “elegant margarita.” It’s shaken and served straight up in a martini glass. She had two (they are that good, my friends, that good).

We decided to start with the Tortilla Chips and Three Dips to start. It come with a homemade bean dip, homemade guac, and homemade salsa verde. The guacamole was the clear winner, and being the guac snob I am I can honestly say it was some of the best I have ever had. I loved it. Highly recommended.

Tortilla Chips with Guac, Bean Dip, and Salsa Verde

For dinner Brandi went for the Tostada with shredded beef and I ordered the Fish Relleno.

Brandi loved her Tostada. She said it, “Was delicious! It’s been years since I’ve had a tostada and it was the perfect blend of cabbage, cilantro, meat and sour cream. Creatively done and very tasty.”

Tostada

I also thought my Fish Relleno was creatively done. It was essentially fish stuffed with crab and shrimp and rolled into an almost burrito like shape. The lime vinaigrette that was on top was killer. I could drink that stuff with a straw. It really complemented the dish. My one complaint is that some of the rice wasn’t fully cooked, it was either that or the veggies…I couldn’t tell, but there was a weird crunch to the rice. Nothing that killed the entire meal, but I would prefer a fully cooked side on my next visit.

Fish Relleno

I’m really looking forward to going back and trying even more things on their menu. And with as many specialty cocktails as they have this could become the regular girl’s night spot.

Cantina at El Rayo on Urbanspoon

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2 Responses to “El Rayo’s New Cantina is a Hot Little Watering Hole”

  1. Meredith @ Map & Menu May 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    How have we not been here yet? Everything looks incredible! I’m so excited to try the Three Dips – glad to hear that you loved the guac so much!

  2. ashley jordan June 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    i want to go! i totally forgot it was opening. great pictures, looks so really good.

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