Hot Eats: Milagro Mexican
This new Mexican restaurant in Webster Groves is a much-needed addition to the St. Louis dining scene.
As I approached my first visit to Milagro Modern Mexican, I knew that they billed themselves as a departure from conventional Tex-Mex. I also had higher than usual hopes for it with the Tilford name attached; Tortillaria is one of my faves—but I had no idea just how amazingly fresh and unexpected Milagro would be. This new Webster Groves restaurant completely exceeded my expectations.
Milagro’s interior is airy and makes use of the space well, with a good-sized bar, booths and a handful of high tops. There’s a Mexican presence in its colors around the space, but otherwise it’s devoid of artifacts or over-the-top sombreros. The place was packed on my first visit, and the first inkling that this would be a more-than-worthwhile experience occurred when a server bustled by me with a colorful, steaming plate of tortillas and what looked to be yellow squash and mashed potatoes. It turned out to be the pollo adobado—strips of grilled chicken marinated with red chile and topped with a warm salsa, served with mashed potatoes spiked with chile. The dish was so delicious, it was gone in less than five bites. Most of their entrees are served with “calabacitas,” grilled zucchini and yellow squash that are semi-firm and not the least bit overcooked. And neither was the ceviche; the mahi mahi’s perfectly marinated flesh blended well with lime, tomato, onion and cilantro mixture and was served with tostaditas.
A rule of thumb when dining at Milagro; don’t expect the typical Mexican anything. Sure, they have chips and salsa. Of course there’s guacamole and queso, but the queso is served in a cast iron pan and has an extra kick from the house-made chorizo. And while you can find tacos and quesadillas, most have an upscale or unexpected twist. Like with the quesadillas tradicionales, which resemble the texture of an empanada—the quesadillas are crisp turnovers filled with huitlacoche (an edible corn fungus that’s rarely used in Mexican restaurants in the U.S.), mushrooms and Chihuaha cheese and served with chipotle-lime aioli. Derailing from the norm, I’d actually recommend it over the regular quesadillas with chicken and jack cheese.
Or take the tacos, the pollo tinga is a trio of shredded chicken served in a unique blend of tomato and slightly sweet chipotle sauce and the tacos de camerones achiote marinated shrimp was grilled perfectly and is served with micro greens and mango salsa. Five enchilada options round out the menu and include slow-roasted duck baked in deliciously addictive mole poblano, and lump crab meat with spinach in a creamy tomato sauce. And I’m not sure why I didn’t expect something unexpected when it came to the desserts, but thankfully, Milagro threw me for a loop. Along with sopapilla and flan, there’s a heavenly cupcake with raspberry sauce as well as a filling chocolate crepe with rum-soaked bananas. Hopefully, you didn’t expect to leave still hungry.
Photo credit: Photos by Jennifer Silverberg