Sherman's Food Adventures: El Santo

El Santo

To me, it seems like the 'burbs are seriously benefiting from the mass exodus of families from Vancouver proper.  Well, the rise in real estate prices across the board isn't what I'm referring to either.  I'm not even sure that is a "benefit" per se, maybe a curse perhaps?  Okay, other than that, increased traffic and housing density, the actual "good" change is the opening of interesting and "better" restaurants in their neighbourhoods.  As the demand increases for anything other than chain restaurants and mom n' pop shops, we find places like El Santo setting up in the former restaurant wasteland of New Westminster.

Located near the swank Piva in the Anvil Centre, El Santo offers up Mexican eats in a modern and hipsterish restaurant.  We started the festivities (they do have live music on the weekends) with the made-to-order Guacamole Trio featuring tomatillo & citrus, mango and chicharron.  Of the three, I thought enjoyed the mango the most due to the tropical-taste as well as the sweetness.  There was some spice with the chicharron while the citrus guacamole could've used a bit more impact..  Neatly presented, the Ceviche de Atun consisted of BC albacore tuna charred citrus, red onion, avocado brûlée, radish, cilantro and chips.  This wasn't complicated in terms of flavour, but it was good nonetheless.  The natural and subtle tuna flavour was at the forefront accented by a touch of acidity and sharpness from the red onion.  Personally, I could've used a bit more punch, but that might've overwhelmed the delicate tuna.

The most stunning item of the meal had to be the El Santo Huevo sporting a masa battered soft-boiled egg, house-made chorizo and habanero apple jam.  Essentially their version of a Scotch egg, this was perfectly prepared.  As you can see, the egg yolk was deliciously runny while the egg white was delicate.  The thin layer of chorizo was meaty and slightly spicy (could've used a thicker layer of it though).  It was encased in a crispy masa crust.  I didn't even use much of the jam since it tasted good on its own.  For our choice of Tacos, we chose the Pescado sporting beer battered BC ling cod, avocado lime crema, shredded cabbage, tomato, scallion and salsa verde.  Yes, this was essentially a fish taco, but it was a good fish taco.  The tortilla was tender with a chew while the fish was crispy and flaky.  With a squirt of lime, there was a nice acidity to go with the rest of the fresh ingredients.

Ending off things, we shared the Torta de Cachete with a side of Papas Mexicanas.  This was my favourite item other than the egg.  Normally, I'm disappointed with the bread in most tortas because they tend to be overly dense.  This one was completely different being almost banh mi like.  It was nicely toasted, airy and super crunchy.  Inside, the tender and moist beef cheek was accompanied by crunchy cabbage, tomato, avocado and peppers.  On the side, the potatoes were beautifully fried and tossed with poblanos, caramelized onions and confit garlic.  This was an aromatic accompaniment to an awesome sandwich.  I would've liked to see a touch more salt to amp the flavours up even more so.  However, in general, the food was good at El Santo and the vibe just as nice.  A great addition to the New West food scene.

The Good:
- Proteins were on point
- Carefully prepared eats
- Nice spot to hang out for an evening out

The Bad:
- Food needed just a touch more salt


Mishaela said...

They have really fantastic cocktails. I find they’re a little too keen to flip your table though. Last bite still in your mouth and the plates are whisked away hahah

LotusRapper said...

I LOVE this place. Been there twice now with friends. Love the service, the space, the food. Yes, the food could be amped up a bit as far as seasoning goes. But overall, nothing to complain about.

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