Mezcal tiptoes into tapas
Seascape eatery’s new menu has Spanish influence
By Michelle Farnham
June 19, 2019
MIRAMAR BEACH – As it prepares to celebrate its second anniversary in Seascape
Towne Centre, Mezcal Mexican Grill is debuting a new lineup of food and cocktails
for diners – including a tapas menu.
Mezcal General Manager Kirk Williams said they were looking to embrace the
restaurant’s family atmosphere, while leaning into more Spanish concepts.
“We wanted a little more diversity, branching out from being strictly Mexican,”
Williams said. “We’ve got those giant booths, and it’s fun to sit down with a group of
people and try a little bit of everything. You can sample more with small plates than
if you just order enchiladas or something.”
Regulars will notice some old favorites still on the menu, and familiar flavors that
have evolved a bit.
Chef Jon Hernandez has been with Mezcal since it opened, and transformed his
pork belly tacos into a seared pork belly entrée.
Now found on the Mains menu, Chef plates five strips of thick-cut seared pork belly,
pickled jalapeños and onions, cilantro, and poblano cream sauce, all served with the
house black beans.
“This kind of reminds me of barbecue with a Mexican twist,” Hernandez said.
From her spot behind the bar, bartender Carissa Shankle paired this dish with a
glass of the Sangria, a recipe Williams brought with him. Boasting a deep burgundy
hue, this is summertime in a glass, a mix of Gato Negro Pinot Noir, peach liqueur,
blackberry brandy, mango puree and fresh fruit.
From the Tapas menu, Chef’s Tuna Tacos are served in a trio of delightfully crisp
wonton shells with seared ahi tuna.
“We do a jicama slaw with mango, lime, cilantro and red pepper flakes with a
poblano cream sauce,” Hernandez said. Shankle added a Watermelon Martini:
Absolut Elyx, fresh lime and watermelon puree, served with a mint leaf and a lemon
Also found on the Tapas menu, the Blackened Scallop Tostadas are naturally gluten-
free and offer tender scallops atop a pair of crispy corn tostadas, adorned with
guacamole spread, picante mix and microgreens.
Here Shankle recommended the Paloma Mexicana cocktail, which combines El
Señorita Reposado Mezcal, fresh lime, grapefruit juice, and ginger beer, garnished
with a mint leaf.
Hernandez – a native New Englander – had to admit his Seafood Enchiladas were his
favorite new offering. He wraps up a generous serving of butter-sautéed lobster and
shrimp with a jalapeño cream sauce, queso fresco, and cilantro.
Chef also pointed out the new Fajita Flatbread.
“I know it’s not traditional Mexican, but it’s fajita-style and it’s gluten-free because
we use a cauliflower crust,” he said.
He and his kitchen had fun mixing up other flavors, like with the Mexican Lasagna,
which uses house-made hot sauce instead of marinara.
To round out the meal, peruse the quartet of sweet treats offered, including the Tres
Leche – a cake soaked in three milks – Chocolate Torte, Key Lime Pie, and of course,
“Flan is kind of like the Spanish crème brûlée, but it’s very different. It’s a custard
with caramel sauce, with house-made whipped cream,” Hernandez explained.
Williams said that in addition to the new menu, Mezcal is debuting daily specials.
Margarita Monday will keep Shankle busy slinging the House Margarita at a special
price. Taco Tuesdays will see the return of the aforementioned pork belly tacos.
Specials on bottles and glasses of wine will make Wine Wednesday a popular
attraction, and Thirsty Thursday means a featured specialty cocktail each week.
“On Fish Fridays, we’ll give the chef creative outlet on whatever is fresh and
swimming around in the Gulf at that time,” Williams said, adding that the dish will
change each week.”
Mezcal Mexican Grill is located at 80 Seascape Drive, No. 101, in Miramar Beach,
serving guests from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Photos by Michelle Farnham