After two weeks of polling, the readers of this blog voted that I should visit Prickly Pear in Mooresville. Prickly Pear crushed the three other competitors with 40% of the vote.
And after almost three weeks, I finally got around to visiting this unique restaurant located just outside downtown Mooresville. In addition, there was an extra bonus -- my parents treated me to dinner! SWEET!
(No, as a mostly unemployed 34 year old male, I'm not too proud to take a free meal from my parents when they're in town. I might initially protest, but in all honestly, my heart just isn't into it when my tummy is hungry!)
We entered and were seated by the hostess (who doubled as a server and bus-girl) after a brief wait -- they were seating a large group ahead of us. This former church has been decorated appropriately for this restaurant. The walls sport a feaux terra cotta finish, the floors are wood, the rafters are ancient and the chairs consist of custom iron work with a leather cushion. To me, this restaurant has a definite South West (i.e. New Mexico) feel. (The food has a South Western flavor too.)
I sat down with my parents, and looked over the menu. So many choices, and only one meal to enjoy -- I didn't know what to order. The enchiladas sounded good, the fajitas sounded better, the Marbella (tortillas filled with shrimp, crabmeat, green onion, tomatoes and baby jack cheese, served with a lobster-chipotle cream sauce) was enticing, but I went with the La Cochinita Pibil. It's a dish with Yucatan Style pork and once started, I couldn't stop eating it.
The flavors of the pork (which was served on a bed of spanish style rice) were wonderful. I tasted cumin, oregano, and I think that there was some ancho chile flavor as well. In addition, there was a sweetness to the pork, probably brought on by onions. The pork was tender and moist, as it was probably cooked in a sauce that contained the above ingredients. My compliments to the chef because this pork wasn't overly spicy, and still had TONS of flavor. I don't know what their recipe is -- but I want it!
There was only one drawback to this meal -- the pork was a little fatty. However, to taste this again, I'll happily endure a few fatty pieces of meat again.
Before the meal came, we ate a basket of chips and salsa. Unlike most mexican-style restaurants, you have to order and pay for these. The salsa was good, and the tri-colored chips threw my parents for a loop. Then came the second course. I chose the black-bean soup accompanied with a dinner roll served with Prickly Pear butter. No, the butter isn't named after the restaurant, it actually is mixed with the prickly pear fruit. It's a unique sweet taste that I wasn't prepared for. However after a few tastes, I grew to like it.
I loved this meal, and the one I had here in December was excellent as well. But this dish seriously knocked my socks off, and my recipe of Mexican Pulled Pork has been dethroned as my favorite dish. It's a blow to my ego -- but my taste-buds have spoken!
Food: 4/5 (If the pork hadn't been fatty, it would've been a 5/5)
Price: $$$ (soda, meal, appetizer and tip put it over $20)
Conclusion: It's a bit pricey, but it's SOOOOO worth it. Go here. Go now. Enjoy, and thank me with a comment.
The Prickly Pear
761 N. Main Street
Mooresville, NC 28115