It's a Mexican/Southwestern eatery so we started things off with the house chips and salsa, natch, but at Lopez these standard starters are better than most. The salsa is thick and sweet, with a generous portion of cilantro and just enough garlic to let you know it's there, but not over power your taste buds for the rest of the evening. And to wash it all down? Margaritas, of course! If you come to Lopez looking for that green slush they sling at most Mexican joints you've come to the wrong place. Lopez makes their Margaritas themselves the proper way, no overly acidic or too tart mixes here, and serves them on the rocks with a salted rim.
After a drink and some chips and some time to talk to the friends we'd invited it was business time. Like the chips and salsa and the Margaritas the menu at Lopez is a cut above your everyday Mexican fare, exploring the usual south-of-the-border items and expanding upon or deconstructing them. For example, taking off on the enchilada my mom's friend ordered the Mexican lasagna, filled with pulled chicken, chorizo, and spinach this lasagna subs in tortillas for the traditional noodles and oaxaca for the usual Italian blend. All this is held together by an amazing charred tomato sauce that would put your Italian grandma's to shame.
As for me, I opted for the Grilled Duck Burrito. I received a generously sized burrito filled pulled duck, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and oazaca cheese. This was topped with a handful of colorful field greens and came sitting atop what Lopez calls "pineapple mojo," a salsa verde sweetened with pineapple. As delicious as it was filling, I happily polished off the other half for lunch this afternoon. The gaminess of the duck mixed with the richness of the mushrooms and cheese nicely, and all was complimented by the sweetness of the pineapple in the salsa and the bitterness of the spinach, the only thing this dish really needed was a boost on the Scoville scale. I know, I know, not all Mexican food is spicy, but damnit the stuff I like usually is.
While Lopez is easily in the top three Mexican restaurants I've ever been to, it's not an every-day-eatery--that means it's pricey--but a great celebration destination. Plus it's in a great neighborhood, just a block away from the Cedar-Lee Theater and all the great bars in that area, but, hey, you got good Margaritas you don't need to drink anywhere else.
My only complaint: no caipirinhas http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink2632.html
Next: The Thurman!