Mi Reyna Latino Tapas and Bar – #115 on the Tour

The Bar: Mi Reyna

The Address 394 Belmont Street

The Day and the Time Saturday 8:30

The price 8 dollars

Did they ask me if I wanted a lime He did and he

What was the type of gin It was a nice high end one that tasted good but I didn’t write down the brand so the truth is lost to history.

What was the gin and tonic like It was quite good, though it could have stood a little bit more gin, the young man gave me a shot glass measurement of gin. I shouldn’t complain all too much because I’m the one who goes on about drinks that have an over abundance of booze. So who am I to kvetch about a carefully proportioned glass?

The Story: My friend told me about this place with glee, knowing I want to get to the end of my list of bars to visit, and can’t seem to get there. This used to be a D’Angelo’s sandwich shop and it looks like it. I went in and there was a foursome eating what they call Latin American Tapas. There were people at the bar, but it turned out that they were folk related to the restaurant. The first impression of the place could have been better, You walk in to see the industrial kitchen. If I could make a suggestion. Put up a curtain. Or love beads. Everybody digs love bead curtains in Latin American Tapas joints.  It got better from there.

The main room has a small bar that worked nicely. The best part is though they had a TV by all the nicely apointed liquor bottles, the set was not on. This was great. I must say, I want to see less TVs and more talking or drinking or both. I have been to 120 bars for this tour at this writing and I can count on one hand how many bars didn’t have a TV on during my visits. I guess people want TV, but my time at this place was good without it. I talked. I drank. I was aware of my surroundings. (Wow, end of sermon, please).

At the bar was the daughter of the waitress and a girl who was building the website for the restaurant. The group at the table were finishing up, and all seemed happy. The young guy behind the bar (late teens or early twenties) seemed nervous at my order. Told me a couple times that the guy who does the bar all the time, who is awesome at making drinks, was away at his daughter’s graduation and he was recruited for this weekend only to be behind the stick (He didn’t say behind the stick, I seem to be the only person to still use that term for bartender anymore, but dammit, I’m trying to bring it back). The young guy asked what gin I wanted, I said I was in his hands. He hesitated, picked a gin and made a drink. “Here it is,” he said, “If its not right, let me know and I can fix it.” Oh crap, I was charmed. This adorably lost kid, with such a shayna punim, just wanted to do right by the customers, no matter how many or few of them he had. I liked this place. Don’t ask me why, I just liked it.

But this was not an easy place just to have a drink and split. I felt very conspicuos. So I decided to break my rule and have food. I couldn’t justify not. A nice group of people, not a lot of people at the place. I wanted to do right by it. The food choices were unique and the menu listed what part of Central and South America it originated. I picked a shrimp cerviche which came from Mexico. It had marinated shrimp, coconut and raisins. This was like nothing I have had before. It felt authentic and it was delicious. Maybe a little sweet for my tastes, but I really enjoyed it and would have liked to try more dishes. And it worked well with my gin and tonic, so it had that going for it.

I kibbitzed with the waitress, the bartender and the others attached to the place. I asked the bartender kid if this was his first gin and tonic he ever made and he admitted that it was. “Was it okay?” he asked worried. I said it was great and “It’s a hard one to mess up, it has four ingredients: gin, tonic, ice and a lime. You got all four. You did well.” He smiled with such naches. I must have liked the joint, I’m bringing out all my yiddish phrases.

Will I come back Yes. I want to try a bunch of dishes. If the main bartender is there, I might try a tequila drink. I want to share this with my friends. I want to share this with you. I liked it, its different and good. I usually don’t go out on a limb for this tour, but please, give this small place a try.

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