The Belle of Gulf Boulevard and I had to leave our stately pleasure dome by the sea (actually, the gulf) this weekend to visit the Big Guava on the other side of the bay. Since we were back in Tampa it was decided that we should try that new upscale Mexican eatery in WestShore Plaza.
According to their website, "Besito, translated as little kiss, strives to delight guests with the warmth of a private hacienda offering thoughtful details and cuisine regarded by the New York Times as excellent." Since the Times, as everyone knows, is the source of esoteric reality on all things Mexican, we knew that we had to dine at Besito.
We had reservations for early evening and we were promptly greeted and seated. Claudia was our most gracious, charming, and professional server. She patiently answered any questions that popped up and was quick to offer suggestions as we muddled through the menu.
The first order of business had to be margaritas, and Besito has margarita variations out the kazoo. We really like the taste of tequila, so we requested a more traditional version of this Mexican classic and that was what Claudia recommended, the Classic Margarita, on the rocks with a salty rim. The margaritas were refreshing and well prepared.
We were pleased to see Tableside Guacamole on the menu, so that had to be the start to our fiesta Mexicana.
A few more appetizers were ordered by our table. Two of us requested the Ceviche del Dia. Today's preparation featured shrimp in a tomato based marinade and served with plantain strips and corn chips.
In the coastal regions of Latin America this dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. That was what I was expecting, so this ceviche was a bit disappointing and certainly not the Yucatecan Mexican I was hoping for.
Another aperitivo presented to the table was the Empanadas de Hongos, crimini and button mushrooms with goat cheese and salsa verde cruda.
While these empanadas were deemed to be good, they were not elevated to memorable. But, let us move on to the platos principales.
The Alambre de Res was similar to a kabob with grilled New York strip steak, chorizo, rice, cilantro, salsa verde, and salsa ranchera.
With the colors of the Mexican flag, this was an attractive dish that was described as "athletic", meaning it was a tough chew.
The Enchiladas Mixta was a dish prepared with skirt steak, grilled chicken, chorizo, guajillo cream salsa, plantains, queso fresco, and cilantro.
Then there were the Enchiladas Sulzas, or Swiss style enchiladas with shredded chicken, tomatillo cream sauce, and queso Chihuahua. Who knew the Swiss did enchiladas?
The one dish of the evening that received accolades was the Enchiladas Carnitas, roast pork baked in a black bean jalapeno salsa, a salsa molcajete, crispy bacon, queso fresca, with onions and cilantro.
Finally, a dish that spoke Mexican, with tender, juicy pork, a rich sauce, and the complex flavors of Central Mexico.
Two desserts were requested, a vanilla Tres Leche and a chocolate Tres Leche.
We split the bill at the table and for two personas la quenta was $90.29. Claudia was deserving of the 20% plus gratuity we added. I can't envision a return to Besito; although, as we were leaving we were presented with a complimentary bag of tasty churros and a teeny, tiny worry doll to place under our pillows at night to ward off evil spirits or something.
Editor's Update 9/8/2015: I was recently informed that the correct expression is "out the wazoo, not the kazoo."