Raleigh, N.C. — When we heard that Jibarra in the Raleigh Depot in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh was changing its concept, the Out and About team had one question - What about the margaritas? Jibarra has been known for having great margaritas and an extensive tequila selection.
I am happy to report that at Jose and Sons margaritas are still on the menu, as is the tequila. There are also some tasty handcrafted cocktails.
But it isn't just about the drinks, you can't leave Jose and Sons without trying the food.
Charlie Ibarra, whose family owns the restaurant, said the name is a tribute to their father. The menu is a nod to their family's Mexican-Southern upbringing.
Where: Jose and Son is located in the Raleigh Depot next to Videri. They love working with the community, and have incorporated their neighbors like Crank Arm and Videri into the menu. Tasty Beverage is even controlling one of their taps.
The food: In addition to traditional Mexican dishes like guacamole and ceviche, there are Mexican takes on Southern staples - chicharron and waffles and shrimp and grits made with masa (corn dough) topped with chihuahua cheese.
The meal: Since this is a family-owned place, I decided to bring my mom to dinner. We started with two house margaritas. My mom tried the fresh citrus and I had the spicy grilled pineapple one. I loved the sweet kick mine had. I can't wait to go back the try the chipoltle mango flavor.
It was the "grand opening party" night, so we tried some of the free snacks in the lounge - guacamole, flautas with grilled chicken and (my favorite) the Trophy Black Eyed Peas, which contain brew from nearby Trophy Brewing Company.
We got a table and started our meal by sharing the three cheese mac ($7), which is a nice blend of Mexican cheeses topped with an herbed panko crust. Served in an iron skillet, this dish is perfect for sharing. If you love queso, you will love this mac and cheese!
For entrees, we got the Enchiladas Del Mar ($17) - three flour tortilla filled with cascabel blackened tiger shrimp, spinach, creamy tomatillo salsa, chihuahua cheese, crema, cilantro, onions, radishes and served with rice - and the Chicharron and Waffles ($14) - crisp pork belly “cracklins" over corn masa waffles and topped with a poached egg and agave-sriracha sauce.
The enchiladas, obviously the lighter of the two dishes, were a great take on the mainstream enchiladas you get at most places. The shrimp were well-seasoned and large. The flavors really worked well together.
The Chicharron and Waffles, their take on the chicken and waffles trend, was as heavy as it gets! The corn masa waffle is huge! Then they top it with those cracklins and a poached egg! You take a bite and get the saltiness of the pork, mixed with the sweetness of the waffle then the spicy kick from the agave-sriracha sauce. It is a burst of action for your tastebuds. Ibarra told me that because of its size, a lot of people have decided to make it a challenge by trying to finish this dish in one sitting. I ate nearly half and got a take-home box!
The service: Our server was great at helping us navigate the menu and figure out how large each entree was. He was well-versed in the dishes and prompt with drink refills and our food.
The bill: For two drinks, the mac and cheese and the two entrees it was around $50 before the gratuity. A little steep, but the food was top quality. I expect to pay a little more for great food, but definitely can't afford to dine there too often.
The verdict: With a lot of shareable plates on the menu, Jose and Sons is a great place to take a group. Just grab a few drinks, order a few shareable plates then split the bill. Definitely, splurge and hit their Sunday brunch!