Oaxacan dinner at Mezcal in downtown San Jose, CA

It was a special occasion that warranted a weekday dinner out. We were in the mood to try a new place. I had heard good things about the Oaxacan place in downtown San Jose, Mezcal and decided to give it a shot. This is my brief review of our dinner at Mezcal.

We arrived fairly late because it was a last minute dinner decision. Given the downtown San Jose location, we had to settle for paid parking across the street in the KQED building garage. We arrived to a relatively busy place for a Monday night – it looked like lots of office dinners were going on. On first glance, the Cinco de Mayo/Halloween vibe of the place was striking and very unique. On further investigation, we came to know that one of the folks working in the restaurant has produced some of the art which was wonderfully unique.

On perusing the menu, we identified quite a few vegetarian dishes. One downer was the fact that one of the key elements of Oaxacan cusine, the Mole sauce was made with chicken stock at Mezcal. Bummer!. We ordered a side of guacamole to go with the complimentary chips and salsa for appetizer. The guacamole was made fresh and tasty. The salsa had a nice spicy punch to it. For the main course, my wife chose a vegetarian tlayuda, a crunchy tortilla shell filled with a bunch of veggies, cheese and sauce. I picked vegetarian enchilada suizas with tomatillo sauce. The little guy got himself a cheese quesadilla. The food arrived in about 10-15 minutes. I liked my enchilada and the tomatillo sauce was very tasty. My wife liked the filling in the tlayuda but not the crunchy shell which was extremely hard to break away and eat with the stuffing inside. It was awkward. The kid’s cheese quesadilla was good (and cheesy).

Service was pretty good. Folks were extra friendly. And the little guy charmed them to get a complimentary ice cream at the end.

Overall, we liked the food but were not wowed by it. It is worth a repeat trip sometime.


 Ambiance: 9.25/10. Loved it. Very cool place to hang out.

Service: 9/10. Service was good. Folks were pleasant.

Food: 8/10. Good, but not exceptional.

Price: 8/10. Not the cheapest place but it is to be expected given the location and ambiance.

Restroom: 8.75/10. Clean and usable.

Overall: 8.25/10. If looks were everything, the overall rating would be higher. We had a good dinner. Enjoyed it. Recommend it.