I had known that the previous occupants of the building had
departed perhaps a year ago and I had received an e-mail telling of the new
Mexican restaurant, but I had no clue as to what to expect. The place
is very small yet still intimate; there is room for perhaps twenty diners at
most. The seating is close but not cramped and the walls are adorned
with chic and modern art and sculptures. Table tops are paper covered
but have white cloths underneath, and white votive candles burning in clear
and very clean containers rest on the table. Nearby are tiny, square
salt and pepper shakers with chrome tops -- also very clean.
Silverware is wrapped neatly in cloth napkins.
Great timing. A deuce has just become available and
Lauren and I are seated immediately, very near to a smallish bar just
outside the kitchen where the sound of a blender will not be heard; the
owner is acting as bartender and hand-shaking the blended drinks. A
very polite waiter dressed in black approaches our table, smiles and, with a
very heavy Spanish accent asks if we would care for something to drink.
Lauren chooses a margarita (I forgot the name) and I opt for a shot of Cuervo 1800 that is
accompanied by something called Sangrita -- almost like a spicy tomato
juice. The margarita is akin to a "Topolo" variety with loads of fresh
lime juice and incredible flavor. My shot-glass of Sangrita has a
touch of heat and is almost as good as Lauren's margarita. It is a
great aperitif for the tequila.
The menu is nicely limited, but literally brimming with
inventive choices that make deciding a herculean task; I have not seen such
interesting selections in a very long time. My eyes though, are drawn
to the bottom of the page and the fine print there that proudly proclaims:
"All items are prepared fresh to order, we use the highest quality
products and ancient techniques to prepare our salsas." Worries
about the poor day, along with any remnants of a bad attitude, were suddenly
swept away. There were more important things at hand... like what to
select from the menu.
Munching on some freshly-made tortilla chips and spicy
dipping sauce, we made the decision to try the Ceviche:
fish of the day (tilapia), lime, extra virgin olive oil, serrano, tomato and
onion -- $7.95 as a starter, as we contemplated the other delights on
the menu. The Ceviche came -- as did all the dishes that evening --
beautifully and imaginatively plated. It was nestled among interesting
greens and accompanied by a small porcelain dish of (I think) chile ancho
sauce that added a slow burn to the tasty morsels. We also succumbed
to a Cazuelita (casserole) of Champinones: wild mushrooms,
chile de arbol, garlic, onion, crema fresca, over a bed of melted chihuahua
cheese -- $5.95. Our final choice was a taco order called
Pastor: Chile ancho and guajillo marinated pork, cilantro, onion,
grilled pineapple, chile morita salsa -- $8.95. The dish consisted
of four small corn tortillas, filled with fiery pork and kissed with a
sliver of pineapple, snuggled one next to another on a long rectangular
white plate with a small dish of dipping sauce... m-m-m-m-m!
Bien Trucha -- which actually means "Good Trout" (go figure)
-- may be a small and somewhat unlikely setting for incredibly good Mexican
food, but that's exactly what owner Ricardo García-Rubio serves up.
The dishes are all imaginative and invoke mouth-watering images; no
disappointment is anywhere to be found when the plates arrive either.
The heat provided by the peppers is easy to handle and the flavors
outstanding. There are many items than continue to call for my return
to Bien Trucha, and I will definitely answer that call.
There are so many other items I would like to try:
Crema de Chile Poblana Sopa, Chorizo Cazuelita, Tacos Camaron,
Tacos Arrachera, Tortas De Lujo, Tortas Deseada... all
magnificamente, I am certain!
I may be going way out on a limb here... but
this may possibly be the best Mexican restaurant I have visited
since my dinner at Topolobampo. Obviously not quite in the same
class, but incredibly impressive nonetheless, and certainly a style with
which even Rick Bayless would be impressed. I am almost afraid to tell
anyone about it, for fear that I will never again find a seat upon my
return... So don't tell anyone about this fantastic
little Mexican eatery in Geneva. Bien Trucha certainly earns a
Four-and-a-Half Zin rating and a place at the very top of your "gotta go
there now" list!!
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