For years, Huma Mexican Comfort was one of our favourite spots for tacos — it made multiple appearances on our Best Restaurants lists.
When we got word that Huma was no more, there was general sadness in the office. Yes, we hear about restaurant closings pretty well every week — such is the nature of the business — but some hit harder than others.
But, in this case, the mourning was premature. Chef Mariel Montero Sena made some decor changes — we like the new chandelier with the demon dogs and devils hanging from it — and tweaked the menu, and Luna Cocina Mexicana was born. It occupies the same spot that Huma did, at the corner of Argyll Road and 99th Street. Parking is still, well, an effort, but the food is well worth it.
I took the home’s resident taco aficionado (my son, Tate) for a big post-school meal, and he ordered four tacos. He’s a man of the classics, so he went with the asada (marinated beef) and the carnitas (braised pork), and he said that the beef tacos were rich and seasoned a little differently than he was used to — but that this was a good thing. It’s a big flavour punch and an excellent lunch choice. The taco menu is large, with fish and non-meat options. My favourite from the Huma days was the beef tongue, and I was happy to see that it’s still on the Luna menu.
But, on this day, I steered to the “From Abuela’s Kitchen” section of the menu, a collection of home-cooked favourites that might not be immediately familiar to those of us who are used to not looking past the tacos and tortas section of a Mexican restaurant’s menu, I was intrigued by Mole de Olla, a hybrid soup/stew made with oxtail. The intrigue quickly transformed to satisfaction once I took my first few spoonfuls. Do you know that feeling of not being sure what you wanted, but the second you taste what you ordered, it hits the spot? The rich oxtail chunks just melted in the mouth, and the bits of corn and onion added crunch to a complex broth. There’s a meaty front end, followed by waves of pepper. Big chunks of squash, zucchini, potato and carrots make you want to use a knife and fork … even though you’ve got a bowl in front of you.