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Can't miss dishes: Barbacoa taco, watermelon margarita, goat's-milk-caramel flan at Youngstown's Jaguar

Barbacoa taco at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Here's three things I wouldn't miss at Jaguar at the Bistro (110 Main St., Youngstown, 745-7141), which I reviewed in today's Buffalo News.

Above is the beef barbacoa taco, chile-braised beef on a house-made corn tortilla. While $9 is a outrageous price for a taco truck taco, this was fine dining. What's outrageous was the flavor. I wished I had a plate of this instead of my pibil pork entree.

Check out pictures and details on rest of the dishes I enjoyed, plus a full run-through of my meal, after the jump. These perfect churros didn't even make my short list.

Churros and ice cream at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

I'm lukewarm about most of the fancy cocktails I've tried around town, but this watermelon margarita brought me up short. Cubes of watermelon puree, with a mixture of Hornitos tequila, watermelon liqueur and lime soda poured over it at the table. You sip and the fresh thyme spring jostles your nose and what the heck?

Watermelon margarita at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

One bite of the flan below and all other flans of memory seemed like weak sauce. I wanted to know what was in it. Chef Victor Parra Gonzalez said he uses cajeta, goat's milk caramel, and those strawberries? Sauteed in clarified butter to perk up the flavor. It worked.

Cajeta flan with butter-sauteed strawberries at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

Now from the top, starting with the salmon tartare amuse bouche.

Salmon tartare amuse bouche at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

The ceviche, Alcapulco style, according to Gonzalez.

Ceviche at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

The chicken tinga, good but I wanted more Mexican spin.

Chicken tinga mini-taco at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

Scallop with caviar and corn, slightly seared scallops were fine but light on the corn element.

Scallop with caviar and corn appetizer at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

A homey, satisfying zucchini soup with cilantro broth.

Zucchini soup with cilantro broth at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-002

Here's the entrees. Snapper filet with cilantro chimichurri and soy sauce wontons.

Snapper with cilantro chimichurri and soy sauce wontons entree at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

Cochinita pibil, Yucatan-style braised pork, with a refined potato gratin.

Cochinita pibil pork entree at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

Big chile flavor that doesn't overwhelm your palate with spiciness is not easy to pull off. The stuffed poblanos with nogada (walnut sauce) foam, below, did it. The dish tastes far better than it looks.

Stuffed poblano peppers with walnut foam at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

 

Here's the filet with crabmeat and Brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon.

 

Filet with crabmeat and bacon Brussels sprouts at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

You've already seen the flan, and the churros, both best-of-WNY caliber. Here's the rice pudding arancini, an interesting experiement.

Rice pudding arancini at Jaguar at the Bistro, Youngstown-001

Now I'm hungry again.

email: agalarneau@buffnews.com

 


 

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Food and Drink
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