Second chances raise bar

Jul 27, 2016 at 10:38 am
Second chances raise bar

I’m a firm believer in second chances. In the grand, stressful, jubilant, fast paced world of the service industry, there’s always room for error. In a realm where the dynamic can change within a matter of seconds, while stellar service is clearly quite important to me, I’m always aware that I have no idea what is going on in the life of my server, bartender or back-of-the-house staff. For this reason, I’m almost unwaveringly willing to give a bar, or restaurant, another shot if it, well, fucked up. Forever delighted that I’ve stuck to my beliefs on this sentiment, and many others, my friend Jess and I made our way to Migo this week after a sub-par service experience a few weeks ago. Tacos were calling my name (as they often do in my sleep), and Migo needed redemption in my book.

And boy — am I grateful for second chances.

Call me a basic bitch, go ahead, but tacos and tequila breathe life into my otherwise dead soul. Any food that somewhat resembles a vagina paired with anejo tequila transforms me from resting bitch face to pure joy in a matter of seconds. Upon saddling up at the bar at Migo, patrons and servers bustling around me through the heavy-hanging humid air, we were greeted by bartenders, Casey and Jeri. They cheerily gave us waters and offered us up the simple cocktail/beer/wine menus and a slightly more extensive food menu. I ordered a classic mojito (silver rum, freshly squeezed sour, lime, mint — you can always tell when restaurants freshly squeeze their juice, taking a simple and well-executed cocktail to the next level), and Jess sipped on a gin and tonic. Casey walked us through the tantalizing food menu, providing his suggestions, and soon after our orders were placed he offered us a shot of tequila. Um, yes please, and Jeri showed us the bottle. “It’s George Clooney’s tequila,” she said, of the Casamigos Anejo. Artisanal tequila from that famous dreamboat? Yes, please. 

Round about halfway through our meal, I found myself in a labyrinth of beautiful food and drink. As we annihilated the yucca tots and soft shell crab tacos, Korean style, I sipped my mojito, an Anderson Valley Watermelon Gose (one of the most delectable brews for an incredibly hot night, in my opinion) and another pour of Casamigos. When Jess asked for hot sauce, the chef himself, John Derek (or, lovingly, JD) brought out a flight of homemade hot sauces. Everything is made from scratch — “integrity is the product,” said Casey. There may, or may not, have been tequila involved at this point, as well.

It’s hard to put my finger on what is stellar about the restaurants that Adam Burrous, Chase Mucerino and Gerald Dickerson (Migo only) own. Perhaps it’s that they seem to create environments where people come for the food, but leave with an experience. There’s nothing swanky about Hammerheads, Game or Migo, yet they all possess a kind of food and beverage prowess that keeps us wanting more: wanting to know more, taste more and to feel and embrace the innovation that’s coming from these kitchens and bars. They all have a unique take on their food and a no-frills but solid bar, and they employ talented young people who are seemingly hungry for more. Laid-back, comfortable and with delicious food, Migo may just be my favorite of the three. 

Despite the fact that Migo’s food is orgasmic, which I took note of even when the service of my first visit fell short, I’d swing through Douglass Loop just for the $5 special on mojitos and margaritas on Mondays and Tuesdays. While the cocktail list only consists of five staple drinks, my favorite had to be the “Ned, Dusty and the Lucky Day,” which includes a shot of El Jimador tequila, a taste of a Migo marg and a can of Modelo Especial all for a mere $9. A Migo take on a boilermaker that includes a marg sample? Sign me up. Experimenting with such a menu item made me grateful, yet again, for my firm belief in second chances, and a reminder to stick to my rule of thumb whilst dining out: always sit at the bar.