I didn’t realize until earlier this week that Minero was Sean Brock’s restaurant. I’m a huge fan of his cooking and thought that a meal at this outpost of his Charleston Mexican restaurant would be a great lunch to start the new year. We met our daughter and son-in-law at Ponce City Market and settled into one of the high booths (with foot rests – a really nice touch, it makes the high tops not seem so bad), after about a fifteen minute wait. With four of us, we sampled much of the menu.
We started with a bowl of excellent guacamole, with their house made chips. Reading the website, they say it was a multi-month journey to learn to make just the right tortilla, down to sourcing the right corns (they’ve settled on three) for the masa. They’ve found it – the chips were thick and crispy and crunchy.
The chilaquiles, made from heirloom beans and pork, crema, tortilla chips, salsa, fried egg, queso fresco, avocado. The thick, crunchy chips soaked in red salsa made for a great base for this dish. They can adjust the “done-ness” of the egg, if you don’t want the yolk to run. This was a very tasty dish, but low on pork content.
The torta del dia, which was breaded and fried chicken topped with sliced avocado, on a bed of lettuce and tomato. The torta changes daily (del dia), but was massive. And the chicken was cooked perfectly.
The burrito, filled with queso de Oaxaca, crema, hoppin’ john, avocado, poblano (I’ve never seen Mexican rice and beans identified as hoppin’ john), was so hearty that you didn’t realize that it was vegetarian. The heirloom beans (from Rancho Gordo), which you can see below were the size of conjoined marbles, more than fulfilled the protein role. And the tortilla was charred perfectly on the grill.
We did order a side of rice and a side of beans, for the table.
Here’s the crazy thing – as good and hearty as the beans were, this rice may have been the best thing on the table. It was absolutely phenomenal. We also tried the tacos, having four of the six that they offer.
From the top, going clockwise:
- grilled steak – heirloom peppers, pickled vegetables, queso fresco;
- al pastor – marinated and grilled pork, pineapple, avocado;
- pork carnitas – confit, jowl, chicharron, salsa verde, chilmole; and
- charcoaled chicken – unripe mango, lime pickled red onion, cotija, pasilla de Oaxaca.
They were all street taco style, and the steak was, by far, my favorite. Two of the tacos, plus some of the rice and beans would be enough for a meal. One more reason to head to PCM.