Yes you can get great food outside the city.
If you have ventured east of the 427 you will know that little pockets of the GTA are defining themselves as culinary destination. Jason Tsougios knew that when he opened Door Fifty Five in Port Credit and along with partners Jonathan Harvey and John Martino he continues to hold the commercial trappings at bay with the opening of El Jefe right across the street.
Port Credit is a picturesque lakefront town that is slowing enveloping the diversity its neighboring super city has long held supreme over. Aside from a few burrito joints, Mexican food hasn’t had proper representation outside The Six and with a massive 76 seats patio flanking a stunning graffiti alleyway, El Jefe feeds a niche never lacking customers.
Inside the decor is strewn with sombrero’s, sugar skulls and neon lighting. What could potentially be theme overkill is actually hip and trendy. Nothing is too overdone with just enough “kitsch” to placate families and snap for the city dwellers.
A reasonable prized cocktail menu presents all your Mexican staples. The margarita, sangria and mojito do not disappoint while the creative twist on several classics highlight the use of fresh ingredients and time honored techniques.
All good Mexican feasts should be entertaining and the folks here don’t disappoint with options like Mexican roulette peppers (one of the four avocado stuffed peppers contain their super hot Death sauce) and guacamole prepared table side. Soft avocado, roasted peppers, citrus, garlic and cilantro are presented in a sturdy mortar and pestle and mashed to your preferred consistency.
The kitchen has been tweaking their menu during a soft opening leading up the Cinco de Mayo and while some things have been omitted they are certainly not missed.
Salads, ceviche and empanadas are no surprise o and with 7 different fillings available the tacos are a popular choice. Each has its own flavour combination that works perfectly together to create delicious mouthfuls of taste. A heavy use of grilled or roasted tropical fruit is a wonderful surprise.
For a more substantial dish you and your guests can tackle the 5 pound burrito or if sharing isn’t something you learned in grade school then the chicken chimichanga is just what you need. Deep fried but not at all greasy this chicken and cheese filled tortilla is nestled on a smoky three pepper tomatillo sauce and topped with mango pico de gallo and sour cream.
You will want to end your meal on a sweet note. While you only have a choice between two desserts either will be a great option. You can stay true to your love of Mexican food by selecting the churros which honestly never disappoint or you can show you Canadian roots with the beavertail tacos. Minty mascarpone cheese topped with fruit compote nestled in sugary sweet, warm beavertails.
You don’t need to fight the line ups or parking spot infrequency that comes with eating in Toronto every weekend. Instead you can drive ten minutes down the road (by highway) or take the scenic lakeshore route and find an amazing meal just as Instagram worthy.