The dining room has just three tables, covered in vibrant tablecloths contrasting with the black walls and floors.
Colored chalk takes over the western wall with a menu surrounded by drawings of a sun, fish, crab and the shape of the Japanese islands.
On the bottom left corner is a cowboy hat-wearing octopus, looking mischievous, its tentacles wrapped around the stick of a flag with a raised red fist holding an ear of corn, the symbol for La Resistencia, the name of the formal dining room inside Revolver Taco Lounge in Deep Ellum.
The brunch here is unlike any other in Dallas. Chef and owner Regino Rojas has crafted a menu of seafood that could be described in countless words, but simply put: The quality of ingredients, the skill in execution and the creative mind of Rojas make this an unforgettable meal.
Start with oysters ($4 each). Last Sunday, our visit featured one with aguachile masago ogo seaweed for a quick blast of a perfect heat with a fresh oyster from Baja California, Mexico. Another one, broiled, pushes the flavor of the smoked bacon and butter that’s on top.
A campechana coctel has more from Baja California — sashimi-grade prawns, shrimp and octopus combined with onion, tomato, cilantro and serrano ($28). There’s relatively no heat in this seafood cocktail that’s plentiful to share.
Octopus alone is a good reason to show up at Revolver Taco Lounge, which still serves its regular tacos out of the west side of the building while brunch goes on in the more formal dining room.
It’s also the warm element in the sushi roll — yes, one of the Observer’s favorite Mexican restaurants is serving a Quiroga tako sushi roll ($18). Inside is Michoacán-style, Mediterranean octopus carnitas with albacore tuna on top alongside spicy mayo, chile bruto and eel sauce. The cold and warm elements clash for a delightful bite that’s quite a spicy one.
If it’s on the menu, which has items that can change at any time depending on the availability of ingredients — do not skip the tempura fish taco ($8). One recent Sunday, this was a Japanese kisu fish perfectly fried and paired with lime-parsley aioli, Tijuana sauce, pickled red onion and a superbly fresh butter lettuce leaf on an heirloom red corn tortilla. A bite of this can take you to both Japan and Mexico (not by accident), and it may be your favorite of the day.
If you have the ability to share with others, do try the grilled whole fish ($35). Of course, no one’s judging if you order it for yourself, but it's meant to serve two to three people. Last week had guava wood-grilled Baja California snapper served with traditional garnishes — pickled onion and corn, orange, radish, tomato, cauliflower, lime, mole pipián and a fresh salsa.
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More tortillas (some of the best you can get in town, by the way) come with it, so you can pick away at the fish to make your own tacos. Even if snapper isn’t your favorite fish, the meat carrying the smoke flavor is beautiful with the garnishes. Use them all, especially the crisp, tiny radishes. A slice of orange provides a splash of juice you’ll appreciate. Try just a bit of the escabeche at first to see how much you like it with everything else.
Enjoying all of this with a michelada ($9) makes for good use of time on a Sunday, the only day you can get this menu. Seatings are available at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. only by reservation. Don’t be surprised by a locked door when you arrive — something we’re seeing more of as businesses look to control the number of people inside.
Our visit had us eager with anticipation for every plate — simply put, there wasn’t a combination here that didn’t show intention and skill with every composition. And that was only on Resistencia's second weekend of brunch. We already want to return next week (and the week after that).
Revolver Taco Lounge, 2701 Main St. (Deep Ellum).