Poblano cuisine – the culinary tradition of Puebla State – is preserved in this intimate restaurant in Mexico City, which still clings to the historic district tradition that the restaurants stay open only for lunch. The moles of Pueblo come in a wide variety of colors, ingredients and heat factors. Casa Melos offers seven varieties, ranging from a thick red Tehuacan (with goat meat) to the dark brown Acapixtla (with chicken and sesame seeds).
The restaurant itself is small, and because it is so popular, waiting lines can be long. Reservations are accepted, but only on Thursday and Friday. Patrons are mainly locals. The stone arches, stucco wall, marble floors and high ceilings give the restaurant a spacious, elegant feeling. The restaurant is operated as a family business, under the direction of chef Lucila Molina de Merlos.
Newcomers to poblano cooking should try a chipotle stuffed with cheese, nuts, pork and raisins. The mole poblano comes either with pork or chicken, and cannot be topped. Mole is carefully prepared by grinding and mixing up to 20 or more ingredients, including chilis of different kinds, nuts, chocolate and other herbs. A stew of meat and fruit, called “manchamanteles” or tablecloth strainers, is another treat not to miss. Casa Merlos also puts on periodic “gastronomic festivals,” which feature dishes appropriate for the season. Be sure to ask about the current one when you go there.