We owe a debt of gratitude to Executive Chef Daniel Marquez. Because if he hadn’t said “hi” to us one afternoon at Marche Bacchus, and invited us to return to Taqueria Canonita we might have forgotten how much we like this place.
We’ve eaten here many times over the years, always been in awe of the quality of the fresh made margaritas, tequila selection, ceviches, smoked chicken enchiladas, taco trios, corn and green chile soup, as well as one of the better queso fundidos around. We say “in awe” because the thing we’ve always thought to ourselves as we’ve dined here is how much better the food is than it needs to be.
Looking around, you notice the “outdoor” patio filled with turistas who don’t look like they care a whit about what’s on the plate, as long as those ‘ritas keep comin’. They’re there for Mexican food alright, but if the same old same old mushy beans and packaged burrito meat were thrown at them, nary an objection would be made. So it’s something of a marvel when you taste a crab cake that is all crab and perfectly sauteed, or bite into your ultra-fresh taco that contains piquant pico de gallo and top shelf meat.
Then you notice Penn Cove mussels on the menu (not the more pedestrian PEIs), and are taken with the brightness and pepper kick in their steaming broth. From there it’s on to a juicy pork loin, dressed with an apricot tomatillo marmalade, napped with a pineapple mole, sitting beside perfect, cilantro-infused rice (and black beans to make you weep), that will make you realize what you’ve been missing in your Mexican meals lately.
Finally, there’s one small, side item that illustrates this kitchen’s commitment to quality. Accompanying the pork loin is a hoja santa corn tamale wrapped in a banana leaf, and infused with the scent of this elusive herb. Fresh ground corn kernels are steamed inside this leaf, and the result is a corn pudding/bread-like tamale that is irresistible.
It’ like nothing you’re gonna taste in any neighborhood, South of the Border joint, and a good example of the type of food that is just done better on The Strip than elsewhere in our humble burg.
That’s because all those inebriated turistas, by their sheer numbers, support a sophisticated Mexican kitchen in our midst.
Whether they can taste the food or not.
We didn’t pay for the above meal for two, thanks to Chef Marquez. On at least a dozen occasions in the past, we have. Had we paid, the meal pictured above would’ve run around $70, not including tip.
In the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian (When they spell it “shoppes”, they saw you comin’.)
3377 Las Vegas Blvd. South Suite #2160
Las Vegas, NV 89109