Boldly announcing itself on the corner opposite the Angelika theater in the Mosaic District, Cyclone Anaya’s Mexico Kitchen is there to part the spectacularly affluent target audience of the “urban village” near my house from its wages. I had passed the menu a few times, and had heard enough about it – but when the parents were in town and craving a Mexican experience, this was a lot quicker than going to Arlington and a lot better than some of the local alternatives. At the same time, it is a cloth napkin sort of place, and the prices on the menu to reflect that – so you have some sort of Lauriol Plaza sort of expectation – or at least hope (and I don’t think Lauriol Plaza is anything special). What I can report is more or less what I expected. On the food, it’s not too bad. For the respective shekel, you really should just hit a good tacqueria.
The atmosphere is pretty good. Certainly it is clean and the waiter had good manners and a neat uniform and such. They had a good selection of beer. With one of the party being vegetarian, they were particularly attentive and knew what stuff was problematic and what wasn’t. One of the usual harbingers for Mexican restaurant quality – the salsa at the table – was actually pretty tasty with some significant bite. The nachos were rather odd (almost looked like mini-pizzas, so daintily arranged) but the flavor was there and was hard to be too offended. That said, the restaurant’s purported specialty was seafood – so I had to try the Lobster Enchiladas. The lobster was well done and the flavor was ok, but the sauce, a Chardonnay butter sauce was much too buttery to the point of being excessively rich. The addition of pine nuts probably seemed like a good textural flair, but came off much more as a genuinely weird recipe choice. Given the potential for what it could be, it did not add up the $25 bill.
Frankly given the $120 (including tip) for 4 adults, the entire experience did not add up. In that way, it does fit much of the “designer imposter” aspects of Mosaic itself. I can’t sit here and tell you Cyclone Anaya is a bad place – on the food it’s solid average, maybe a bit above. But it is the very definition of a “waste of money”.