At the top of my agenda when traveling to any new city, particularly one in Mexico, is a list of the best restaurants to try, both from my personal investigations and recommendations from trusted sources. Although I had done my preliminary research before touching down in the state of Jalisco, it was our local Guadalajara guides who made reservations for almost every meal of ours. After our first night of indulging in a 5-course dinner at Alcalde, I knew I was in the right hands. Our GDL hosts did a superior job and I couldn't wait to see where we'd eat next.
We dined at the absolute best restaurants in Guadalajara, one of which is called Hueso, located in Colonia Lafayette, also known as the Lafayette Design District. I have never enjoyed photographing a restaurant as much as I did Hueso, which I had to pull a couple strings to do so, as the restaurant is only open for dinner and I came through on a weekday morning. I must thank my handsome friend Alex Martínez for his assistance with securing the bag. Hueso was designed by architect Ignacio Cadena, brother of Chef Alfonoso Cadena, head of culinary concepts. When strolling up to the restaurant, tucked away on a busy tree-lined street, you will see a single bone suspended from a chain above the entrance. This is but a first glimpse of the full-picture at Hueso. This 1940's modern building was transformed into a vibrant restaurant displaying10,000 different animal bones on its interior walls. Drawing inspiration from Darwinism, bones (Hueso in Spanish, a-ha!) is the motif at every glance, from the walls, bone-colored floor tiles, and even the menu. The restaurant feels like a piece of art, even down to the business cards; for that reason, paired with the food of course, it's one of my top 5 favorite restaurants in the world. This was one of the best dining experiences of my life and not merely because the Don Julio 1942 was flowing. (personal side note, listen to Partynextdoor's 1942 here)
Hueso is the coolest designed restaurant I've ever had the privilege of dining in. Large wooden dining tables were custom-designed by the architect, placed in the center of the room, giving the restaurant a communal atmosphere. At night, the tables light up with a singular bulb reminiscent of a candle. It makes the atmosphere incredibly romantic. I felt very sexy as I sipped my speciality Don Julio cocktails and laughed loud with my new friends. I tried to get a copy of the elusive menu from our special dinner but it's been difficult to track down. You cannot even read a menu online but I'm sure that's do in part of the restaurant's commitment to all seasonal, all the time. I'll typically jot down everything I ate, but I was so overcome with this joyous experience, my phone remained tucked away in my purse. I had no need to be on a machine when I was taking in one of life's greatest gifts–good food and conversation. Was this my favorite meal of 2017? Just maybe.
Because I have a memory that rivals some of the best and this night was so memorable, I managed to piece together what came across our table. We began our multi-course dinner with a plate of salmon mouse and toast, an excellent light dish to awaken our appetites. What arrived next was the most insane salad I've ever eaten in my life. It was a bed of greens tossed with the most unlikely of vegetable and fruit pairings: tomatoes, dehydrated apples, beets, and a few other things, I wish I could remember that! I underestimated this salad, I pre-judged it. After a couple bites it had me rethinking every salad I had eaten before it. Why hadn't anyone else put such a plate in front of me before this moment? I shook my head in disbelief. You must order this salad.
Mussels swimming in beef broth, Chuletas de Cerdo (pork chops) and perfectly cooked slices of steak with roasted vegetables & habenero cream were served. I rarely enjoy pork chops but these were other worldly. Have you ever ate something so delicious you're mad at all the other versions that came before it? That was my experience. I didn't think the meal could get any better and then Hueso's steak was placed before me. My goodness, what a perfectly cooked piece of meat with a hearty serving of root vegetables that were packed with immense flavor. Chef Cadena is committed to using only the finest of quality ingredients, sourcing his vegetables, fruit, seafood and poultry from within the Jalisco state. As for the red meat, like my steak, it's sourced from Sonora, an area much further North, known as "the meat capital" of Mexico.
Dessert was delicious but at that point in the meal, I was spent. Only Don Julio could save me now.
I feel inspired to mention that I am never surprised by the quality of food, decor, service, and taste level while in Mexico. Although I was raised in a country that tried its hardest to make me feel ashamed of being Mexican American–even present day with a "president" who spews lies about my culture–its been my continual trips to this incredible country that screams our greatness as a people.
When gathering more information on Hueso I came across many stories, typically written from an Anglo perspective, that were "surprised" or "shocked" that such an avant-garde space with impeccable food existed in Mexico, much less Guadalajara. That kind of language is a clear indicator of one's racism, whether they are conscious of it or not. I've had to hear this shit about Mexico my entire life and I'm tired of it. Please stop saying Mexico is dangerous. Please stop saying you're surprised to find art, fine dining, and luxurious hotels in this country. You sound dumb and ill-informed.
For those who love to travel, especially to eat, Hueso should be at the top of your list when in Guadalajara. The restaurant is open until midnight so it's perfect for the nightlife set. Being a guest here is like being part of a work of art, while eating a work of art. It's simultaneously beautiful and cozy, with a warmth that is uniquely Mexican. I cannot wait to return to Guadalajara so that I may eat here again.
Hueso | Calle Efraín González Luna 2061, Obrera, 44140 Guadalajara, Jal., Mexico