Tonight I Dined: Caracol

I was celebrating a special occasion this weekend and when I was thinking of where to dine, disappointingly, the list came up short, like very short. 

There are plenty of fine dining restaurants around Houston, but very few are vegan friendly. Since I wanted to try something new, I ventured to a place with a vegetarian menu, but no labelled vegan options. Caracol is also owned by the same owner as Hugo's (see my review from 2016 here), which labels vegan options, so I thought there would be a good chance of them accommodating the request for vegan food. 

Caracol is a Mexican Coastal Kitchen, which specializes in seafood. Well, let me tell you they also do verduras right. I ordered the Enchiladas Verdes de Vegetales de Primavera. The plate came with 2 enchiladas stuffed with zucchini, corn, and poblanos and was topped with a bright, tangy tomatillo sauce. It came with sides of rice and refried beans. The beans were incredibly flavorful, with a thicker texture than most refritos, and the delicious rice was speckled with peas. The enchilada filling was delectable, but the tangy salsa was the star for me. It had so much flavor!

My boyfriend ordered the Arroz Negro con Vegetales Rostizados. The base of the entree was black rice that was cooked in black bean broth and truffle paste. This was topped with roasted carrots, butternut squash, asparagus, zucchini, tomato, corn and huitlacoche. This dish was quite spicy through and through, although I believe it needed some salsa for additional acid and salt to kick it up a notch. We were really excited to try the huitlacoche, which is corn smut, a fungus. My best description of it is an earthy corn taste, with the outer kernel more slimy than regular corn. I would need to have it again before I decide if it's my thing or not.

They have an extensive cocktail menu, you can even treat yourself to a $29 margarita, but I stuck to the blackberry mojito. The balance between mint, tartness from the muddled fruit, and sweetness was outstanding. My boyfriend had a mezcal margarita with ancho chiles and jalapeno. The restaurant even made a special off-menu vegan dessert for us, compliments of the chef, for our celebration. It was baby plantains in a sweet citrusy sauce topped with toasted coconut. I enjoyed the thoughtful service and delicious food at Caracol so, so much. While I think vegetarians would have a much easier time eating here, don't be afraid to ask for vegan accommodations!