Restaurants / Openings

A First Taste of La Mina — A New Mexican Hideaway at Dallas’ Cool-Again Village and Chef-Driven Destination

Hidden Beneath the Drey Hotel, This New Spot is A Must-Visit For Cocktails and Authentic Cuisine

BY // 11.04.21

The new restaurants keep on coming to the newly reinvented Village Dallas. First, chef Junior Borges’ Meridian debuted at the massive apartment community. Then, a new Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar called Anise opened inside the property’s brand new Drey Hotel. And now, subterranean spot La Mina (located in the basement of the Drey) is serving regional Mexican cuisine and cocktails.

La Mina is meant to feel like a secret hideaway. “La Mina, which means ‘the mine’ in Spanish, is our hidden gem at The Village,” says Casie Caldwell, the development’s Vice President of Food & Beverage.

To me, visiting The Village already feels like entering a hidden wonderland. As many times as I’ve driven down Greenville Avenue, past the main entrance off of Caruth Haven Lane, I had never actually stepped foot into the community until this spring when Meridian opened. My dad had told me stories about living at The Village in the ’80s when he first moved to the city, but I’d love to bring him back there now to show him how much it’s changed.

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An outdoor patio at La Mina is great for brunch and dinner.

Back to La Mina, though, which serves as a speakeasy within a cool-again Village. There may also be a speakeasy within the speakeasy. But you’ll have to figure that one out on your own.

It’s a little tricky to find the restaurant — you have to go around the back of the hotel to find the entrance. But once you walk inside, it feels as if you’ve discovered something. An escape from the hustle and bustle of the rest of The Village, La Mina also features an open-air patio you have to look down from street level to find.

Chef Tony Ibarra, formerly of Petra & the Beast, has crafted a menu of authentic Mexican dishes. The El Paso native is using products from Mexico and local produce from North Texas farms to create delicious bites. Tortillas are made in-house using heirloom corn from Mexico.

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La Mina is one of the few restaurants in Dallas using nixtamalization, a method in which dried kernels are cooked and steeped in water and lime. They then use a Molinito grinder to mill the nixtamalized corn and make masa, a maize dough that is then transformed into a tortilla. They taste so much fresher and flavorful than an ordinary corn tortilla. You could eat them on their own.

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La Mina’s cocktail menu offers several great tequilas, mezcal, and rum concoctions.

Cocktails are also a big deal at La Mina. Of course, there’s a house margarita. But you should explore some of the other tequila, mezcal, and even rum options. A must-try is the Tamarindo en mi Mente. I just got a taste, but I wished afterward I had ordered my own. For a lighter drink, the hibiscus mojito is a great choice and served beautifully with edible flowers. The La Ciudad is the only mezcal cocktail on the menu, which I will definitely be trying next time.

The La Mina menu is full of great antojitos, platos fuertes, tacos, and al lado, but on a recent visit I was able to taste a few chef’s picks. The coctél de camarones (with shrimp and avocado) is a tasty and light starter. The aguachile de medegral is also flavorful and perfect for fans of yellowtail. It has a kick of spice with jalapeños but is balanced with coconut milk and tamarind.

I love mole so I knew I had to try the polle en mole negro. Chicken slathered in a mixture of morita, guajillo, ancho, pasilla, and cascabel chiles, along with chocolate, cinnamon, and sesame seeds, sits atop a bed of white rice with gilled plantains. I will be going back just for this dish.

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The Market Fish Veracruz at La Mina is cooked in banana leaf.

Other options for mains include the puerco con chile — a braised pork shoulder with chiles, poblano, and mayocoba and rosado (heirloom) beans that practically melts at the touch of your fork. There’s also a market fish Veracruz a couple of enchiladas, and several tacos to try.

Also, don’t miss the authentic Mexican desserts. The Tres Leches parfait was a favorite with butter cake, winter fruits, crispy pepita meringue, and cinnamon whip. Super light and served in a glass jar, it’s enough for two to share. There are also churros, paletas, and chocoflan.

La Mina offers brunch on the weekends as well — or a great excuse to sit on the outdoor patio and sip mimosas. The food menu includes breakfast tacos, heuvos, chilaquiles, and horchata-soaked French toast.

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