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Next Wave Awards Food & Beverage Program of the Year: Mírate

This feature is part of our 2023 Next Wave Awards.

Los Angeles has no shortage of beautiful watering holes, but few are as well rounded as Mírate. Opened by cinematographer-turned-restaurateur Matthew Egan and chef Joshua Gil as a sibling establishment to Mírame, the duo’s first wholly Mexican restaurant and cocktail bar is as revolutionary as it is picturesque. The multi-level space is verdant and romantic, with plants and low lighting warming its many corners. But the guests don’t come for the greenery. They come to enjoy one of the most innovative food and beverage programs in the game.

With industry and Gracias Madre veteran (and 2022 VP 50 winner) Maxwell Reis at the bar’s helm as beverage director, Mírate boasts an all-Mexican beverage program of cocktails, spirits, wine, and yes, even sake. Curating the space’s selection even further, the team is scrupulous in their product selections. Egan says they make a point to source wine and spirits exclusively from producers that practice sustainable sourcing and maintain the integrity of their products, especially when it comes to tequila (read: no additives or celebrity brands.)

Credit: Tracie Davis

“We’re really after making sure that we are telling the story that we want to tell with why we sell the spirits and the beverages that we do, and the cocktails follow suit,” Egan says. “I don’t know if this is pretentious or not, but when Max and I were working on the bar program, we [wanted] to make sure that everything we do and sell is the most creative that it could be — that people typically couldn’t go into another Mexican restaurant or their home bar and whip up one of our cocktails or make one of our tacos.”

Credit: Tracie Davis

The resulting menu is definitively not pretentious, yet entirely singular. Thanks to Gil’s culinary background and Reis’s career behind the stick, one would be hard-pressed to find a worthy imitation of a Mírate cocktail anywhere else. Lacto-fermented chorizo, avocado-washed Cascahuín, and house-made mole bitters all make appearances on the current menu. The Carajillo riff has a whimsical marzipan twist, and the clarified milk punch, La Sonadora, features goat milk as its dairy element. Even the basic bar ingredients are exclusive to the operation: To avoid using agave sweetener, an often highly processed alternative to sugar used heavily in Margaritas, Reis created his own more sustainable sugar blend called “nogave” that maintains the earthy flavor of the agave plant.

And even though Egan says Mírate “leads with beverage,” the food options are equally innovative — think scallop tlayudas topped with uni sofrito and sea bean-studded aguachile. Gil’s interpretations of the classics, too, are exemplary, like the jalapeño cornbread with cheddar and whipped honey butter, tacos stuffed with 12-hour brisket, and wood oven-roasted lobster paired with esquites.

Credit: Tracie Davis

In short, when it comes to L.A.’s cocktail bar scene — hell, the whole country’s — it’s a chess-versus-checkers situation, and we know which one Mírate is playing.

The article Next Wave Awards Food & Beverage Program of the Year: Mírate appeared first on VinePair.

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