So unstoppable has been the dirty-velvet Tex-Mex/fake-Mex revolution, it's become desperately rare you ever see Mexican restaurants (as opposed to taquerias) that jibe with the best of what's in the provinces. And while Autentica, too, is no carbon copy of what Mami made (which would be cynically fake, anyway), chef Oswaldo Bibiano has placed the Guerreran food he grew up with into the broader fine-dining tradition in which he was trained. And with the occasional exception of a braised boar-rib special, Autentica uses fresh ingredients local to the Northwest. Though the restaurant has often struggled with service (the overworked servers do mix those sterling margaritas personally), it has never faltered on its excellent small plates, particularly the tostada con puerco frito. The seafood cocktails are likewise well-balanced between citrus and fresh-fish flavors, with neither overwhelming the other. We do wonder about the $7 guac, the soups—the corn milk-thin, the tortilla soup indelicate—and the occasional bland fish special. But, still, as ever, the mole, the mole, the relleno sauce and the mole…I've commissioned a pool ($15 at Wal-Mart), and I'll be filling it with the stuff.
IDEAL MEAL: Tostado con puerco frito, cocktel tradicional (fish in tomato sauce), pollo en mole teloloapan (half chicken in eight-chile mole).