Friday, July 27, 2012

Parrilla y Canilla Morelia

We first heard of Parrilla y Canilla last December while in temporary residence in Morelia. Our friend and former neighbor, Larry, had been to it and liked it very much. But we were unable to visit it until last Wednesday.

We knew that it's an Uruguayan steak, pizza and pasta place. Larry is a a Texan and a big steak fan. Jennifer Rose, a friend of many years, is also a big fan of Parrilla y Canilla. She wrote me that it was her favorite place for steak in Morelia. At last came a chance to try it with both Jennifer and Larry.

I had heard of "great steaks" before in Morelia, but had invariably been disappointed. This time was a welcome exception.

The restaurant is located at  Calle J.J. Tablada #60, Colonia Santa María, Morelia, Michoacán. It's slightly hidden from the street. But once you eat there, you will have no trouble remembering how to get there.

Mario greets guests at the door
What does the name mean? A parrilla is a grill, but what the heck is a canilla? Jennifer told us that it's a "tap", as in a bar, or a wine keg.
The decor is sophisticated and contemporary. It shows restrained good taste at every turn.

Niche with figure
There's a wood fired grill and domed wood burning oven on the ground floor.

There are three levels of dining room. The third floor also has a very attractive terrace with umbrellaed tables. Large windows provide the upper dining room with a good view of Morelia.

The waiter brought us warm bread, baked in house and the regulation red salsa and green chimichurrí. The bread, in fact, was passable but nothing special. The salsas were fine.

There's a good list of appetizers, but we passed over those and shared a pizza Margherita. In a small lapse of service, the pizza arrived at the same time as our steaks. The pizza itself was medium sized, and the toppings delicious. The crust, unfortunately, was pale and limp. One of the attractions of a wood fired oven is to obtain a well browned bottom crust on the pizza. But I will give the restaurant credit for making an effort to use it. Perhaps the pizza cooks need more practice to perfect what must be a difficult art to master.

Pizza: delicious but underdone crust

On the other hand, the grill cooks did a masterful job of grilling meats over wood.

Three of us; Larry, Jennifer and I ordered beef cuts. Larry got boneless Costillas de Res, which looked very good; Jennifer had Entraña (South American Spanish for Arrachera), and I ordered a 420 gram Bife de Chorizo (something like a boneless strip steak). The meat was tender, juicy and delicious.

Doña Cuevas had a generous Ensalada Río Platense, cooked shrimp on a bed of greens, with olives and bits of sweet peppers and wedges of of tomato. Dressing on the side. She also got a baked potato and an order of steamed vegetables. The baked potatoes are quite good, served with chive sour cream unless requested otherwise. Unfortunately, they are wrapped in aluminum foil, thus losing the wonderful crust of the skin.

The steamed vegetables are among the highlights of the meal. They are fresh, cooked al dente and simply prepared. They also taste very good.

I can say that my perfectly cooked steak was the best I've eaten anywhere in Mexico. It was better even than the huge but overly dense steak I'd had at Don Pepe's Steak House in New Jersey last month.

Bife de Chorizo. Tasty vegetables. Foiled baked potato

Now, for an amazing detail: the main course plates were heated! This was a nice touch to an excellent dinner and attentive service.

Two of us drank a tempranillo wine, which was poured from graceful glass porrones. There are two large casks set into the wall of the ground floor dining room. You may go there and see the canillas.

To finish, two of us ordered dessert. Jennifer had the apple strudel, chocked full of raisins and scented with cinnamon, flanked by a scoop of colorful ice cream. I had a somewhat similar dessert in which chunks of apple were baked in a crisp pastry roll and bound by cream cheese. It also was accompanied with very good ice cream. My dessert completely exceeded my expectations.

I also had a very good café express cortado, Jennifer a café Americano.

Let's look at the ratings.

Food: ****1/2
Note that there is quite a lot more from which to choose on the menu. The "Uruguay Gourmet" section has some intriguing creations listed.

Service: ***** Very attentive staff, without hovering over us.

Price: $$$+ Our total bill, with tip, for 4 persons was $1325 pesos. That's an average of $331 pesos each. I think that this is a very good price-value relation.

Ambience: Sophisticated, contemporary casual.

Restrooms: attractive, clean and well maintained.

Conclusion: the best upscale restaurant in which I've dined in Morelia. We will return at the first opportunity.

Contact and info:
Website: Unfortunately, my web browsers warn that the Parrilla y Canilla website  (Do Not Click!) is infected with malware. I hope that they eliminate the problem soon.

UPDATE: the website is now functional and apparently "clean".

Location: J. J. Tablada # 60 Col. Santa Maria de Guido, 58090 Morelia, Mexico
01 443 319 8352
Ample free parking next door.


Felipe Zapata said...

I see part of Jennifer in the top photo. She may not be happy at that. On the other hand, I want that dessert, and maybe a steak too.

DonCuevas said...

Unidentifiable, unless someone points her out!

On another subject:
You have in the past, told us, your faithful blog readers, that your are almost a vegetarian. I guess that "almost" allows a great deal of latitude, ¿verdad? 
Saludos, Don Cuevas

Felipe Zapata said...

 True,  I rarely eat beef, but I will if it looks good.

DonCuevas said...

"The spirit is willing, etc.", eh?

You can have a nice salad, or a plate of vegetables or a vegetarian pizza.

 Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

I had lunch there with Jennifer last year.  It was memorable.  Both the food and the company.

jennifer rose said...

Felipe, you'll find the steak here absolutely out of this world. But chicken, seafood and pasta are also on the menu here, as well as heavenly carpaccio de ternera y salmon. The strudel de manzana is worth killing for. 

Even since this place opened last summer, I've just about quit going to other restaurants in Morelia. This place is *that* good. This place has his the mark when it comes to consistency, which is something that doesn't happen that often in this town. And there's plentiful and easy parking, too.

I ran into the owners a little while ago over at Costco. They asked how you liked the restaurant, Don Cuevas. I told him to check his FB page.

DonCuevas said...

But, Jennifer, I don't "do" FaceBook!

(Maybe you linked to this blog on Parrilla y Canilla's FB page?

Saludos,Don Cuevas

PS: I just finished eating the leftover Bife de Chorizo. I sliced it moderately thin and quickly heated it, with some peperonata alongside. Then I mounted all (Whoa, there!) on a toasted telera from Panadería La Espiga.

With some freshly steamed red and green chard and my oil free, mayo free coleslaw, it was heaven.

I want to go back already. 


jennifer rose said...

Yes, I linked to your blog post at the Parrilla y Canilla FB page. 

In my previous comment, I meant to write "hit the mark" instead of "his the mark."

Catalina Garduño said...

Jeniffer has the best instinct for good food places. When she recommends is always good.
And Parrilla y Canilla is not the exception.
always a good place for meet and a good talk, wine list is also very good. Highly recommended.