I’ve been waiting for Minero to open for what feels like my whole life. From the minute I heard that my culinary obsession, Chef Sean Brock, was opening a Mexican restaurant, I knew that was a place I was going to enjoy.
So when I got word that last Friday would be Minero’s official first day, I grabbed Lily and Sheena and forced them to wait 45 minutes for a table in order to try and be one of the first people to try it out. Considering all the hype around the opening, I was surprised the wait was only 45 minutes. While we were sitting outside patiently (and by that I mean “the opposite of patiently”), an older gentleman (who looked not unlike a retired sea captain) who’d just finished his meal stopped to tell us that “it’s defintiely worth the wait. And order el Satánico! Blended!” So when it was finally our turn to be invited in, that was the first thing we did.
The space is super cool and very inviting. I’m obsessed with the exposed brick, soft lighting, and general earthy feel of the whole place. It’s a little narrow, but the ambiance was spot on for a Friday night dinner. While I was trying to figure out what to order, I noticed Chef Brock walk past our table and let out an audible, involuntary gasp. My hero! In the flesh! Right there! I’m embarrassed that I acted like a 12-year old fan girl, but honestly no one was surprised.
Full house for the night.
The menu is relatively short, which I think is a good thing because I was already having a hard enough time deciding on an entree. To start, we ordered the guacamole ($8), which was topped with radish, mexican chili powder, and plenty of cilantro. It was super flavorful and fresh, but a bit on the small side. The tortilla chips were perfect and served in a warm mitten (I don’t know what to call it) and were seasoned well enough to be delicious all on their own. And they better be since he sampled over 40 kinds of corn to perfect them.
We also ordered the queso fundido ($9), which is the opposite of the kind of queso that immediately springs to mind (thanks, Moe’s. You’ve ruined me forever). It’s thick and melty and made with smokey roasted poblano, spicy chorizo and meant to be eaten with soft corn tortillas, rather than crispy chips. It was delicious and I think we polished it off mere minutes after it was brought to our table.
Because we had trouble deciding which tacos to order (despite there only being 6 varieties on their menu), we decided to each order 2 and share them so we could get an idea of how each one tasted. Lily picked the fried whiting (pickled green tomato tartar, cabbage, red onion, $4) and the pork carnitas taco (confit, jowl, chicharron, salsa verde ,chilmole, $3.5). They were both delicious, fresh, and flavorful, although if I had to pick a favorite of the two, the carnitas would win hands down.
Sheena opted for the grilled steak taco (charred onions and peppers, queso fresco, garlic-amarillo, $4), and the tacos al pastor (marinated and grilled pork, pineapple, avocado, $3.5). The tacos al pastor were awesome with the pineapple, giving a tart and savory flavor to the spiced meat. The steak tacos, though, were out of this world. They were so full of flavor and the meat was tender and juicy…
I got the final two options, the chargrilled chicken taco (mango, cotija, lime pickled red onion, pasilla de Oaxaca, $3) and the green chorizo taco with potatoes and grilled onions ($4). The chicken tacos had a nice smokey taste from the chargrilling and were very good. However, the chorizo tacos made me stop and close my eyes, chewing slowly so as to really savor the flavor. Each of us had the same reaction. If you’re debating, I definitely recommend the green chorizo taco over all the others.
After our taco feast, we were still a little peckish, so we decided to try the Hotdog confit and deli ham torta (avocado, tomato and chipotle mayo, $9.5), because we were way too intrigued to not try a confit hot dog. I’m so glad we did. The sandwich was huge, but it was unlike anything I’ve ever had. It was topped with some kind of shredded greens (cabbage, I think?), which gave an extra hint of freshness to the salty pork.
Basically, I want to live in this restaurant. The prices were really reasonable for everything and the quality was top-notch. The service was absolutely awesome, some of the best I’ve ever had. I left feeling like I was best friends with our server by the time we left. In fact, let’s just put a little plaque under table 13 that says “Reserved For The Queen.”
155 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401