Posted by: Food Lover | March 15, 2012

Miro Vino – Part One


On our previous trip to Sayulita we noticed Miro Vino, but with so much good food, we never got to it. This time we decided it couldn’t be missed, it had a very warm and welcoming vibe, tables set under trees, soft lighting with lanterns hanging in the leaves, a dazzling bar and a bustling kitchen.

Upon being seated we soaked in the great atmosphere, thrilled with ourselves for finally setting foot inside. In no time at all, we noticed this was a restaurant unlike any other. The first clue was overhearing the conversation as we perused our menus.

Diners (Table of four): “We’ve heard that your pizza is exceptional, but we don’t see it on the menu.”

Server: “We don’t list our pizzas on the menu because we only make a 12 to 15 pizzas every night, and the toppings are made to order, not listed for you. However, we have no pizza left today.”

Diners: “But we’ve come to Sayulita just for your pizza. Won’t you make another one for us?”

Server: “I’m sorry, but I take the reputation of my pizza seriously, and one of the reasons it has that reputation is that we limit the amount of pizza dough we make every day. This is to ensure that the dough is of the highest quality and that it stands up to the specific temperature and humidity of the day on which it is made. We know just how long the dough will maintain this quality, and know that once we make a batch we cannot duplicate it later in the evening because the temperature and humidity have changed. So, once the dough is gone, the pizza is no longer available.”

Diners: “But if we can’t have the pizza we won’t eat here. We’ll go somewhere else.”

Server: “I understand, and I know that you will find some very good food at other restaurants in Sayulita. But you won’t be having pizza here tonight – I’m sorry.”

As the disgruntled group of would-be diners got up to leave we couldn’t help ourselves; we asked the server (who by now we suspected was more than that) over to our table.

“Excuse us, but we couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with the people at that table. We just want to congratulate you on your stand – it shows a real commitment to quality.”

As we shook his hand we asked if he happened to be the owner, and he confirmed that he was. This was our introduction to Luca, and to his passionate commitment to exceptional food. We spent the beter part of that first evening getting to know this Italian chef and restauranter (born in Perugia, the capital of the food famous Umbria region of Italy); and Luca spent the better part of his evening explaining the flavour combinations of this dishes and the wine pairing that would best match those flavours.

Our first meal at Miro Vino began with an unusual, but delicious, beet and herb infused goat cheese salad. The portion was too large by half (thank goodness we had chosen to share this appetizer), but the flavours and textures were perfect.

For one of our mains we ordered a filet mignon smothered in a Huitlacoche sauce and cheese. Huitlacoche is a fungus that grows on top of corn, and was used even by Aztecs in their cooking, being considered a delicacy. The combination sounded odd (even a bit disgusting) on the menu, but Luca was adamant that it was delicious so we tried it – and are we glad that we did. It was absolutely delicious; the Huitlacoche sauce was unique and mouth wateringly scrumptious (think New World truffles – but not – hard to describe the wonderful flavour of this fungus).

The meal was accompanied by a perfectly balanced Argentinian red wine (with apologies, we forgot to note the name), after which Luca arrived at our table with complimentary glasses of the best Grappa we’ve ever tasted (we found out later just how expensive that Grappa was – amazing that he would comp such a high-end liquor, but that’s just how Luca rolls).

While the food was outstanding, what really set the evening apart was Luca’s second “pizza-patron encounter”. The table immediately behind us had, as it turned out, ordered the last of the pizzas for the evening. They had ordered a prosciutto/anchovy combination (with arugula) but received a different pizza. When they complained, Luca engaged them in a conversation that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

When the diners complained that they had not received the pizza they had ordered, Luca asked them what they had asked for (he had not taken the order). When they told him of the prosciutto/anchovy combination, Luca explained to them why the kitchen had not made what they ordered: “That combination would be far too salty; the two flavours simply do not go well together.”

When the diners pressed the point, arguing that they didn’t care what Luca thought – this was the flavour combination they wanted, Luca replied: “I take a great deal of pride in my pizza, and I wouldn’t let a pizza with that flavour combination leave my kitchen. What you ordered isn’t a pizza, it’s a food abomination , and I won’t serve it in my restaurant. People like to experiment with pizza flavours, and that’s fine with me, I just don’t want them experimenting with my pizza in my restaurant.” (We swear we’re not making this up – that’s exactly what he said!)

By this point the diners were almost apoplectic, and we were doing all we could to supress our laughter. This as as close to a real life “Seinfeld Soup Nazi” moment we’d ever witnessed. As the conversation progressed, Luca summed up his position by stating that the pizza would not be re-made, but that he would bring a side of anchovies to the table; if the people wanted to ruin the flavour of the pizza that was their choice – he simply would not cook any such pizza for them.

After the wonderful meal we had consumed, and after having witnessed the two pizza-patron encounters on the evening, we had no choice but to revise our plans for our last dinner in Sayulita (planned for two days later) so that we could come back to Miro Vino to sample Luca’s pizza. After all, what foodie wouldn’t want to taste these pizzas after hearing those exchanges!

Stay tuned for Part II of our Miro Vino review (including a report on Sayulita’s fattest dog – lol)!

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