Best Of

La Fresca

With his third restaurant, La Fresca, Ruiz completes his Kingfield trilogy. Several years ago, when he opened Cafe Ena, Ruiz introduced high-end Latin fusion to the area, while his second installment, the tapas bar Rincon 38, debuted just last year with a more straightforward Spanish flavor. Now Ruiz rounds out this array of styles and influences with what he’s calling “nouveau Mexican,” a cuisine that highlights the produce of coastal Mexico as well as a handful of dishes from the Mayan tradition.The food, as the name implies, is very fresh, with bright dashes of acidity, crisp herbs, palatable heat, and a noticeable lack of grease. The unique chilatl is particularly excellent: Grass-fed ground beef is stuffed into a roasted chile “capeado” and then roasted with raisins, olives, and a very light roux-based sauce. The classic juicy, herb-roasted pork tenderloin with roasted fennel, potatoes, asparagus, and smoky bacon gets the Hector Ruiz treatment with an ayocote black bean mole, poblano peppers, and pickled onions. Service is warm and professional but unpretentious, and even though there is no full bar, the malt-based margaritas do the trick. If Ruiz’s restaurants were really a trilogy with La Fresca as the exciting conclusion, we’d buy the boxed set.