West Palm Beach's The Square has welcomed its latest addition with the official grand opening of El Camino slated to take place at the end of the month.
El Camino's readying to open its newest location July 1, quickly followed by the opening of a Boca Raton location at the PEBB Enterprises’ Restaurant Row this winter.
The original location in downtown Delray Beach is known for its vibrant happy hour scene, made-from-scratch Mexican fare, and top-notch bar program. With a mantra that aims to provide a feel-good, community atmosphere, quality and authenticity in ingredients and cuisine, and a commitment to everyday affordability, the South Florida restaurant brand is a respected anchor hospitality tenant known for generating high traffic guest counts for lunch, happy hour, dinner in addition to late-night dining.
Now, West Palm Beach fans can find a similar experience further north with a sprawling 8,500-square-foot space and 1,500-square-foot patio with an outdoor bar, located on the Square's second floor at 700 South Rosemary Avenue.
The new West Palm Beach location will also be first to open for Saturday and Sunday weekend brunch, with a specialty menu that will also offer the brand’s popular daily happy hour featuring $5 margaritas and $3 tacos.
From beginning to end, each dish at El Camino is made in house — even the hot sauces are prepared onsite daily by a kitchen team that arrives before sunrise to prepare the sauces for the day, says chef Jorge Cartagena.
"Our work here at the restaurant is a commitment to pursue excellence in all we do," Cartagena tells News Break. "We simply do not cut corners or skimp on product or time to get things done correctly."
In following that promise, it is evident that El Camino’s fresh and regularly locally-sourced ingredients make all the difference when it comes to properly executing traditional Mexican cuisine. Chiles and cheeses are imported from Mexico; fish, such as Florida red snapper and mahi mahi, is caught locally and daily; and small, local purveyors do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to produce.
Aside from mindfulness to ingredients, many of the eatery’s dishes pay homage to various parts of Mexico. Think burritos from the northern region of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, enchilada styles that date back to the way of the Mayan culture in the Yucatan peninsula, and an abundance of traditional Mexican street fare, all designed to highlight the freshness and quality of ingredients coupled with the Chef’s customary cooking methods and techniques.
Menu highlights include apps such as the Mexican Street Corn (Elote), Braised Pork Tamales, and the Octopus a la Plancha with charred cauliflower, salsa pipian, pickled onion and Spanish black radish. Other fan-favorites include the Chile Rubbed Steak Fajitas; Brisket Quesadilla with Monterey jack, and salsa roja; Pork Belly Tacos with ancho chile glaze, pineapple slaw and peanut crunch; and the Coconut Tres Leches with Mexican sponge cake, strawberry sauce and toasted coconut.
Beverage wise, the drink menu follows suit with the food in keeping fresh ingredients at the core of all offerings. Here, margaritas are the star of the program, followed by a hefty, curated selection of mezcals and tequilas.
Margaritas and cocktails are made by highly trained mixologists with fresh fruit that is pressed daily, including the watermelon and pineapple juices. The cocktail menu’s margarita selection is made with a little something for everyone, including savory, sweet, smokey and spicy, or combinations of two or more. Tequilas and mezcals range in styles with options for the novice tequila drinker to the advanced palate of the tequila and mezcal connoisseur, with all spirits representing tried-and-true traditions of Mexico, highlighting the authenticities of real Jimadores (agave farmers) and Mezcaleros (maestro mezcal producers).