Matthew Lake—shown here, left, with Miles Broadhead (now at Bistro 222) made his culilnary reputation with Mexican food in New York—at one point, Zagat called the restaurant where Lake cheffed, Zona Mexicano, the "gold standard" for Mexican food in New York. He graduated at the top of his class at the Culinary Institute of America, worked with superstar Southwestern cooks like pioneer Southwestern chef Mark Miller at Red Sage, Roberto Santibanez, chef at Fonda San Miguel in Austin for several years and of Rosa, and cooked alongside legendary Diana Kennedy, the queen of Mexican cuisine.
Let's just say he's qualified to run a top-notch Mexican restaurant like the one he just invented in SLC. As of last week, his American bistro ZY closed. As of this week, his Mexican bistro Alamexo opened.
"We made the changeover really fast because I love this team that works with me and I didn't want to lay anyone off," says Lake. He knows the cuisine so well that creating a menu came easily, and the minimalist decor of Zy lent itself to an easy re-do. So, presto—ZY closes and 72 hours later, Alamexo opens. I for one am glad—despite Frida Bistro and Red Iguana, Mexican is an underserved cuisine here, if you don't count taco joints.
Because of the fast turnaround, patrons visiting the first week (through this Friday) will receive 25 percent off their food. Smart move.
I'll be checking it out immediately. Guests at the Salt Lake magazine Farm-to-Glass cocktail contest Saturday night at Rico's warehouse already tasted a sneak preview of the Alamexo margarita—tequila, lime and hibiscus.
By the way, if you're confused about why I chose this picture to illustrate this post, it's because if you Google "Alamexo," this is what you get.