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Reforma Cocina y Cantina, Tucson

February 16, 2015 , ,

bar

bar

We tried a new Mexican restaurant this weekend in Tucson. Competition is stiff for Mexican food here, so to be popular there must be some specific advantage to keep customers returning. Reforma has many features that set it apart from other dining options in the area.  The sleek modern decor and elaborate bar are urban, with nothing indicating that this is  Mexican.  There are no sombreros on the wall, or folkloric costumes for the servers.  The ambience they want to create is Mexico City, or Chilango style.  I like the newly completed renovation if the interior space, but we chose to dine on the patio.  On the weekends St. Philip’s Plaza hosts farmer and artisan markets.  The sellers were packing to leave as we arrived, but it was still a lively scene, fun to watch from the dinner table.

St Philip's Plaza market

St Philip’s Plaza market

The cantina has an incredible collection of tequilas.  The list of tequilas is presented on a digital tablet, and there are hundreds of choices.  The house cocktails all feature tequila as well.  I don’t drink much tequila, but decided to try a vampiro (vampire) which was an excellent idea.

 

 

house cocktails

house cocktails

cheers

cheers

Vampiro

Vampiro

Bob and brew

Bob and brew

The salsa is very thick and smokey.  The tortilla chips are either made in-house or procured very fresh.  When the salsa agrees with my taste I know I will probably like the rest of the food.  Our server John was quick to bring our drinks, answer our questions and take the order.  Bob enjoyed a craft beer while we quickly polished off the first salsa serving.  When I asked for more we were given two extra bowls of the delicious spicy paste. This won my affection for the server.   I can be kept very happy for a long time with sufficient salsa, but when I have chips and no salsa I become the cranky customer quickly.  We had only a few minutes before our meals arrived this time, barely enough to break into the second bowl of salsa.

We tried two sides rather than order appetizers because there were some interesting choices for vegetarians.  The pickled vegetables were a sharp and flavorful accompaniment to my salad.  Green beans, two kinds of chiles, carrots, and red onions were in the mix.  The other side was esquites,  dish neither of us had tasted in the past.  This corn/ onion/crema combination was our favorite.  Both of the side dish portions were so ample that we needed to take some home with us.  Part of my salad with black beans, guacamole and fresh vegetables was also brought back to the house.  Bob managed to eat all the beef with chile, green onions and lime. He really liked it.  We both decided this is a place we want to try again.  There are many other menu items that look tasty, including a great happy hour taco menu.  We passed on dessert, but I noticed there are adult popsicles.  If you like tortillas, tequila, and innovative cuisine I believe you will enjoy dining at Reforma.  John is an attentive and competent server.  He will make sure you do not run out of salsa.

chips, salsa, tequila list

chips, salsa, tequila list

beef for Bob

beef for Bob

pickled vegetables

pickled vegetables

ensalada completa

ensalada completa

esquites

esquites

What do you think?

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comments

The food really looks delicious and even the menu has a very tasteful layout.

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Brigitte Kobi

February 18, 2015

Yes, this is a nuevo tequila place..not so authentic, but stylin and good

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Pamela Morse

February 18, 2015

I’d love to go to a mexican restaurant in Tucson,..just sounds far more authentic

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London-Unattached.com

February 18, 2015

Your post is fabulous! Love your photo of you and the cocktail. Their menu sounds like perfection. I have never heard of esquites. sounds amazing!

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

February 22, 2015

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