Soul Of Mexico
Family Owned, Fine Michoacán Cuisine
By Sharon Apfelbaum
Uniquely devoted to Michoacán cuisine, this festive restaurant throbs with the heart of Mexico. Atmospheric hand-painted murals, Mayan masks, and tin art ceiling mobiles mimic a courtyard patio in Mexico, while one of the five Lua family members staffing Soul offers heartfelt greetings of hospitality. Desert Magazine’s 2011 Best of the Valley voted Soul No. 1 for Mexican food.
Soul was conceived by mother Teresa Lua using family recipes that date back more than 100 years. No cans here. Everything is made from scratch: chips, salsa, buñuelos, sauces, and dressings. The menu often notes “our version” of tortilla soup, green cream sauce, homemade BBQ sauce, chile relleno burrito, and more — lavishing traditional dishes with new culinary ideas.
Signature favorites include Chile Relleno en Ahogada, a flame-roasted poblano pepper stuffed with shrimp. Abundant shrimp and seafood offerings evoke the Michoacán Pacific Coast. Popular enchilada plates include spinach and the Trio, featuring three different stuffings and sauces — red, white, and green. House specialties include pork carnitas, a classic chile verde with pork, and sweet corn tamales bathed in Mexican cream sauce.
Late Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurant morphs into a swinging nightclub when Spanish rock, salsa, and merengue bands spur lively dancing. Guests can order a jumbo ‘share margarita’ and sit inside or out on the starlit patio. Hefty discounts at daily happy hours and on feature-food days make Soul an affordable family outing.
“You don’t have to travel. We give people a slice of Mexico right here,” says Teresa, mother and mastermind of Soul of Mexico. “This was my dream, and my children have helped that dream come true.”
Soul Of Mexico
Price Range: $$
Soul of Mexico is owned by family members Armando Ceja; his wife, Lupita Lua-Ceja; Marta Rodriguez, Jose Lua; and Francisco Lua.
From a delectable array of time-honored family favorites at Soul of Mexico are (clockwise, from bottom) the Grilled Vegetable Stack of fire-roasted seasonal vegetables drizzled with an herb-tomato reduced balsamic vinaigrette; The Trio Enchiladas, each with its own tasty sauce and stuffing (green sauce with chicken, white sauce with cheese, and red sauce with beef); and the pieced ‘resistance, Chile Relleno en Ahogada, a fire-roasted poblano chile pepper stuffed with shrimp and vegetables topped with a cream sauce and served with rice and grilled vegetables. Featured frozen margaritas are (from left) the Tamarind, the house specialty; Mango, and a grande Cadillac Margarita.
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