Of all the cuisines in the world, Mexican cooking may very well be the hottest of the hot just now.
If you have any doubt, consider this: Rene Redzepi — who's arguably the hottest chef in the world — will bring the staff of his hyper-highly acclaimed Copenhagen restaurant to Tulum, Mexico, next year as a Noma pop-up, reports The New York Times.
About 10 years ago, Redzepi swooned over a taco al pastor in Merida, and he has traveled to Mexico with his family every year since. The chef is offering reservations at Noma Mexico, as the pop-up is called, for (are you sitting down?) $600 per person beginning Dec. 6 at the pop-up's website. I think it's safe to say that that'll be the most expensive reservation in Tulum.
The hyper-hotness of Mexican cooking begs the question: Why aren't we seeing more creativity in the genre here in Dallas? After all, our city has such a strong connection with Mexico, in so many ways.
Last year, modern Mexican cooking was a rare exciting trend in Dallas, at a time that was otherwise feeling pretty dull in terms of restaurant openings. Since then, more than half of the restaurants I featured in a story about the trend have closed, and I haven't seen as much creative energy on the plates at existing modern Mexican spots, such as MesoMaya, Komali and Mi Dia From Scratch , as I'd hoped to see.
On the bright side, since that story was published in June 2015, two new restaurants are putting modern Mexican cooking front and center. The first is Madrina, where David Fingerman is now chef. The second is a restaurant that you may not think of as modern Mexican, but certainly has a strong modern Mexican accent: Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe at Hall Arts. There are also fun and thoughtful new taquerias, such as Trompo, Tacos Mariachi and Resident Taqueria. A second restaurant from the chef-owners of Mesa Veracruz Coastal Cuisine is scheduled to open later this year in Grapevine.
But I think there's much more room for innovation and creativity in this area. At a time when our dining scene feels deadly dull — to this critic, anyway — modern Mexican cooking seems ripe for exploration by our city's talented chefs.
Need some inspirations, chefs? Treat yourselves to an eating tour of Mexico City. Go to restaurants like Pujol, Contramar, Huset and Quintonil. Redzepi lives 6,000 miles away; you live right next door.
How about it?