Mo' Mezcal, Mo' Tacos at Mexican Bistro Mezcalito

By Sophie Steiner, September 3, 2021

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Mezcalito, a new Mexican bistro focused on all things taco and mezcal, just soft opened in the old Dodu spot on Changshu Lu. It's backed by Hugo de Mondragon (Dodu, Espíritu), who is going full in on the agave plant front with his second mezcal-themed venue.

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The downstairs seating has been rearranged to allow for more group seating and standing around the bar, a now central theme of the space’s concept. And with that comes a variety of mezcal-focused sips in every form – long drinks, cocktails and alcohol-spiked bevvies like Smoked Horchata (RMB88), to be enjoyed with casual eats, available on weekends until 2am. 

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Other than some lighting changes, a colorful paint job, an updated playlist and a spit for roasting al pastor pork, the layout is still the same as the Dodu we knew and loved, now just with some Mexican flare. The upside is that the new concept works for both daytime and into the evening. Tacos for lunch or tacos late night? Both are a win in our book. 

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The menu, designed by chef Carlos Rosales, focuses on contemporary Mexican fare – a blend of classic tacos, burritos and small plates – with a few scrumptious cuisine amalgamations, like Peking Duck Tacos (RMB28/one, RMB48/two), dribbled with a spicy tamarind chutney. 

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Bites for sharing span citrusy Ceviche Barramundi (RMB68) that showcases tender sea bass cooked in citrus juice with tomatoes – a Peruvian style that is popular across Mexico and the rest of Lat Am. 

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Beef Aguachili Rojo (RMB68) is Mexico’s answer to a French beef tartar, with supple cubes of tenderloin marinated in a tomato-based chili and citrus sauce, served with fried-to-order corn tortilla chips. 

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Our biggest pleasant surprise arrived in the form of Tuna Tostadas (RMB38/one, RMB68/two) – crisp corn tortillas topped with marinated tuna, avocado slivers, purple cabbage, salsa machata (made from peanuts, sesame, dried ancho chili and garlic) and – get this – ants.

Yup, you read that right.

As an edible insect, commonly consumed for its high protein and mineral content, ants add a bright pop of lemongrass citrus flavor to any dish. If you can get past the mental qualm of eating bugs, we suggest giving it a whirl for the flavor, health and sustainability benefits.

READ MORE: A Bugs Life? Meet the Woman Who Wants You to Eat Creepy Crawlers

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The true focus, however, is clearly tacos. Conventional options – like Birria Lamb (RMB38/one, RMB68/two), Carnitas (RMB32/one, RMB56/two) and Chicken (RMB28/one, RMB48/two)  are on offer, with all tacos available for an upgrade to quesadilla status for an additional RMB18.

Burritos (RMB58) use a white wheat flour tortilla base, with diners’ choice of beef tenderloin, chicken fajitas or pork al pastor plus red rice, slaw and black beans.

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Other inventive taco choices include the King Prawn Mezcal (RMB38/one, RMB68/two) that sees grilled jumbo shrimps flambéed tableside, atop a corn tortilla stuffed with sautéed onions, and the Soft Shell Crab (RMB78) – displayed across two shells, deep-fried whole in a tempura batter and decorated with a colorful citrus slaw. 

DSC09629.jpgOctopus and Chorizo (RMB38/one, RMB68/two), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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On the veg-friendly front, Cauliflower Al Pastor (RMB26/one, RMB46/two) is seasoned with chili and coupled with stewed beans and pineapple inside a masa corn shell, while the Mixed Mushroom (RMB28/one, RMB48/two) sports fondant Portobello and button mushrooms, porcinis and morels with rice, carrots and peas.

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If you’ve still got room for dessert (hint: most definitely save room for dessert), the Corn Textures (RMB38) is a cinnamon-sprinkled feta cheese cake with a sweet elote cream and crunchy popcorn kernels.

The Chocolate Lava & Mole (RMB38) presents diners with a chocolate lava cake doused in a rich Mexican mole sauce, sprinkled with caramelized peanuts and chili. 

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Onto the good stuff: the mezcal. There are roughly 20 bottle options, served by the glass with orange wedges, worm salt and actual fried maguey worms, plus sotol, bacanora, raicilla and tequilla. 

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For more casual sippers, the menu proffers Long Drinks (RMB48/with tequila, RMB58/with mezcal), like the refreshing Yuzu Jasmine, the fruity Yangmei Hibiscus or the tropical Pineapple Coconut. 

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Or, tighten the straps and prepare for a mezcal ride with the Mezcalita (RMB88), a cooling Coco Chido (RMB78), a smoky Mexican Old Fashioned (RMB88) or any of the other crafted cocktails that highlight mezcal’s diversity.

Outside of mezcal, commonplace cocktails, like Mojito, Negroni, Manhattan and Whiskey Sour are available for RMB68-88. 

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To celebrate Mezcalito’s opening, they are offering one free taco with each diners’ first drink order from until September 8. So swing through to check out the new digs, grab a tasty snack and a cheeky cocktail, no matter the hour. 


See a listing for MezcalitoRead more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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