Chattanooga Now Family tradition

Chattanooga Now Family tradition

El Meson takes Dona Rosa recipes from their home to menu

July 28th, 2013 in Chattnow Dining

Raul Ruiz Sr. shows off the new menu

Raul Ruiz Sr. shows off the new menu

The new menu has arrived at El Meson and is proving to be worth the wait - the new Dona Rosa recipes on the Taqueria Menu have been passed down through five generations of the Ruiz family, which owns the restaurant's two locations.

"We are so excited," says Tony Ruiz, the eldest son of the Ruiz family and owner of the Northgate location. "This is the biggest change since our original menu; with the special section devoted to the family recipes - real, authentic dishes."

The new menu touches on family specialties like the Chiles Dona Rosa that was his grandmother's famous recipe. The dish is comprised of two poblano peppers stuffed with cheese and topped with more delicious, creamy cheese as well as red salsa. The chiles are served with white rice, lettuce and pico de gallo. The new tomato-based enchiladas on the menu are based on a recipe from Ruiz's aunt, whose nickname was "Enchilada."

Also new is a Tacos Mexicanos section of the menu that features corn tortilla tacos filled with the guest's choice of pastor (pork prepared on a spit in a method similar to the meat used for gyros), chorizo (essentiallyMexican sausage), steak, carnitas (heavily marbled braised or roasted pork), pollo asado (roasted chicken), lengua (tongue), or machaca (dried, spiced beef or pork rehydrated and pounded to make it tender) topped with cilantro and onions.

"The most important part of this process was listening to our customers; trying out our new plates with the regulars and getting their responses," says Ruiz. "When we cook at home for the family, we want to try to bring those recipes here to the restaurant."

The menu also now features a seafood platter, the El Jefes Platter, with tilapia, shrimp, white rice and salad. The new offering of tortas, traditional Mexican sandwiches, is prepared with beans, sour cream, tomato, avocado and the guest's choice of meat. A less traditional, but no less delicious, sandwich now on offer is the Cuban, comprised of the restaurant's homemade pork carnitas with barbecue sauce and cheese.

Rather than the regular fried rice and beans already found on the menu and common at many Mexican restaurants, guests at El Meson can also now choose from a wider variety of sides, including creamy poblano corn, black beans, poblano rice, steamed vegetables and a side salad.

Ruiz says the new soups will be popular this fall, with menudo, which is usually on the Sunday buffet, served alongside posole (pork and hominy), caldo de campron (shrimp soup), caldo de pollo (chicken soup) and a soup of the day.


LOCATION: 2204 Hamilton Place Blvd. and 248 Northgate Mall Drive, Suite 114.

PHONE: For the Hamilton Place location call 894-8726 and for Northgate call 710-1201.

HOURS: Both locations are open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

"A lot of people say they have the best Mexican in town," says Raul Ruiz Sr., founder of El Meson. "We have the original Mexican - we were here before most other restaurants. We are proud to have these recipes for five generations and we love to share them." ?