By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
La Joya has a wine list featuring Mexican wines, mostly from Casa Madero in Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila. Coahuila is a state in north central Mexico a few hours west of Monterrey and strewn with rugged terrain. It's the oldest winery in the Western Hemisphere, founded in 1597 by Don Lorenzo García after he stumbled across native grapevines in the northern Mexican desert.
Take a drink of the 2005 Casa Madero Chardonnay. On its own it isn't much: There are no intricately woven layers of fruit and stone. The acids seem to recede, but the preponderance of canned pineapple on the nose and its unapologetically implied sweetness weirdly proves a good match for this food. It works astonishingly well with the pescado a la Mexicana, a small slab of snapper marinated in citrus juices and coated and fried before it's slathered in a thick chipotle lime butter sauce. It rages and drips with a ferocity that is brilliantly tamed by the crude fruit forwardness of the wine.
Quail rages in a different tongue, more piquant tang than thrusting heat. It's basted with ancho-chile sauce threaded with marjoram before it's grilled into tender succulence that unravels in layer after layer of smoke and acidic spice until the finish slowly dissipates.
Lobster tacos have huge pieces of rosy claw in spicy cilantro corn relish wrapped in a corn tortilla.
Finish off with cheesecake: tortillas stuffed with cheese, fried and drooled with Petron XO Café, a tequila blended with coffee essences.
Then light a candle to the Virgin. Pray that La Joya will land somewhere in Uptown or downtown or some historic district. We have cuisine demons to conquer and this may be the magic stake and the silver bullet. 6450 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 972-831-8000. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Friday and Saturday. $$$