The Mexican wood-fired restaurant Mezcal Bar Maïz64 opens 14th street
Veggie Tostada at Maiz 64. Photograph by Ignacio Urquiza.
Many restaurants with numeric names wink at their addresses. This is not the case at Maïz64, a modern Mexican restaurant on two levels and a mezcal lounge that opens today in Logan Circle. Here, “64” means the varieties of corn available in Mexico.
“For us in Mexico, corn is the ingredient that makes us – we are made by masa,” says chef Alam Méndez Florián, from Oaxaca who is also chef / partner at Pasillo de Humo in Mexico City and formerly at La head of Urbano 116. in Alexandria. “We want to represent that and bring Mexican traditions and flavors to DC using the best ingredients we can find in the region.”
Not all 64 varieties are available to the team of Mexican natives, which includes his partner Ricardo Fux, Mexico-based mixologist Arturo Rojas and pastry chef Elisa Reyna. But masa will be at the heart of the mezcal restaurant and bar with earthy tones (formerly B Too). The kitchen sources native and regional corn varieties through importers like Masienda: pink beltove bolita and yellow bolita corn from Oaxaca, blue chalqueño corn from Tlaxcala, local corn from central Atlantic and many others will appear. The kitchen grinds masa for fresh tortillas that accompany tacos and wood-roasted meats and fish, or tostadas topped with toppings like tuna, avocado, ginger and salsa macha.
You’ll have to wait a few weeks for the corn cream experience of Maïz64: El Comal, a seven-course menu of antojitos (street snacks) where a variety of masa-based items – tortillas, tetelas, tostadas, and more. again – are made to order on a large wood-burning hotplate that sits in the center of the dining room. The interactive experience will highlight seasonal dishes such as kampachi tostadas with apple puree and tomatillo relish, tacos stuffed with marinated octopus or grilled rib eye, and Eightlacoche quesadillas.
In the meantime, Méndez Florián is focusing on an à la carte menu that marries traditional Mexican flavors and techniques with local ingredients. “Whenever I start a new project, I focus on the flavors of Oaxaca,” he says. Look for dishes such as a charred broccoli taco with a black mole and cashews, esquites (street corn salad) made with old-fashioned Mexican corn ep Nitrogen broth, or a duck breast. roast duck with manchamanteles mole (a ruddy beverage with peppers, fruits and nuts), green apple purée and plantain chips. The menu is quite wide in terms of flavors and experience; diners can splurge on lobster with mussel tamales over a lobster-epitonesque bisque, or a guacamole and suckling pig snack or tacos at the sea bass.
A Mexican wine display greets diners, but don’t ignore the vast collection of mezcals behind the bar. Arturo Rojas, bar consultant and author of Cocteles Mexicanos, cocktails made with Mexican flavors and traditions like a tequila blanco margarita infused with bougainvillea flowers or a horchata riff with tequila, coconut cream, citrus, cinnamon and a mix of amaranth grains (amaranth). With the restaurant up and running in a few weeks, drinkers can head to an underground lounge below the dining room for mezcal tastings and more cocktails.
Maïz64 1324 14th St., NW. Open for dinner, Tuesday to Sunday, followed by brunch.