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Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 | 2 comments

Nuevo Mod Mex in Downtown Akron

Nuevo Mod Mex in Downtown Akron

There’s a new, modern, Mexican-themed restaurant on the Downtown Akron dining scene. And wouldn’t you know, it’s called Nuevo Mod Mex.

Nuevo Mod Mex Exterior

The hubs and I, along with a few foodie friends {including Lisa} made plans to give Nuevo a go on a recent weeknight, a mere five days after their grand opening. I know, I know….it’s not wise to try out a restaurant until they’ve worked out the culinary kinks, but we’re a terribly impatient group when it comes to these things. Also, Futureman hails from Texas and COULD NOT WAIT to see if it passed his own Tex-Mex Taste Test.

Nuevo Mod Mex is reminiscent – both in name and concept – of Momocho Mod Mex, one of my favorite spots in Cleveland for inventive Mexican cuisine and killer margaritas. Like Momocho, Nuevo offers flights (aka, sets of three) of guacamole, salsa, and margaritas, as well as a large artisan tequila selection. More on those items in a minute.

Now, if you hang out on Yelp or similar sites, you’ll see that Nuevo Mod Mex has opened to its share of fans and critics. {Geesh, the internet sure is full of people and their snap opinions.} Instead, I’d rather do what Lisa and I make our best effort to do on the blog, and that’s share with you what we liked, what we loved, and what we might skip next time. Thanks, it feels good to get that off my chest. :) On to the food and stuff!

The Scene
Nuevo Mod Mex has a sleek, stylish, and yes – modern – space on the corner of Mill and High Streets. I like the fact that it’s not clustered among the downtown restaurants on Main St.; instead it’s a few blocks ‘up and over’ {officially speaking} in the ‘gothic building’ by the Akron Public Library and John S. Knight Center. Our group was big fans of the cozy yet swank atmosphere and the multi-level layout. A beautiful bar with a wood plank ceiling was to our left as we walked in, and the bar crowd was hoppin’ at 7PM on a Wednesday night. Assuming you can find a seat, it would make a stellar spot for a casual date night or drinks with friends.

Nuevo's bar area

I only sneaked a peek at the main dining room, which is a few steps down from the bar, because we were seated a few steps further down in the basement. No worries, you guys, it’s a perfectly pleasant space and didn’t bother me in the least, but I can see it annoying surprising some, so if you like windows, or you’re celebrating a special occasion {who wants to celebrate an anniversary or birthday in a basement??}, be sure to request the main floor. Also noteworthy: later this spring, they’re completing an outdoor patio dining area, and rumor has it that it’s on the roof. :)

The Margarita Flights
Margaritas deserve their own subheading in my book. Here’s how it works at Nuevo: pick three flavors of ‘ritas and pick three ‘rims’ to match. It’s a little like going to Chipotle or Piada for the first time: it’s easy to get carried away. I think we all agreed that the simpler rims worked better: salt, sugar, and salt/pepper were our faves. The winner of my flight was the spicy mango margarita. Futureman and Lisa were fans of the cucumber marg with a salt/pepper rim – super refreshing and a complementary flavor match-up. Lisa, however, got more ‘creative’ on her jalapeño cilantro marg by adding a peppered bacon rim…and let’s just say that bacon does NOT make everything better. All in all, though, the flights were fun, not knock-you-on-your-butt strong {up to you if that’s a plus or minus}, and a good value at $11. I definitely recommend ‘em, and they’re a perfect idea if you have commitment issues.

Margarita flight: original, jalapeno-cilantro, and spicy mango

The Chips & Dips
Along with our drinks, we shared a guacamole flight and salsa trio with gluten-free chips. That’s right, we ordered six ‘dips.’ There were five us, OK? This was hands-down my favorite part of the meal…then again, I would willingly subsist on chips and guac {and maybe throw in a margarita flight for good measure}. For our guacamole sampler, we chose the original, corn & black bean, and goat cheese/almond/cinnamon {$15, and perfect for a group}. There’s no doubt that it’s made fresh and with quality ingredients. The surprising winner was the corn & black bean over the goat cheese/almond/cinnamon, but kudos to Nuevo for trying unique flavor combos. Keep at it, guys. Oh, and I wish I could give details on the salsa trio, but I’m drawing a total blank. I liked it. We all liked it. One of the three was a verde salsa. Hope that helps. :)

The Main Event
The ‘main course’ part of the menu centers around three areas: Classics {think Carnitas, Carne Asada}, Build Your Own {think upscale Chipotle}, and Entrees {think higher-end scallops and steaks}. Our table stuck with the first two options. Lisa and another gal in our group ordered Nuevo’s take on a steak quesadilla, and they raved about their simple yet tasty choice. While normally I would razz them for ordering quesadillas, the joke was on me, as their entree trumped my Mahi-Mahi tacos flavor-wise. Futureman fared better with Carne Asada. I think this is an area where giving a restaurant time to work some things out definitely helps.

Nuevo table

The Finale
We went out on a ultra-high note with a delish dessert. An intriguing confection called ‘fried’ semifrio stood out on the menu: frozen meringue with toasted cornflakes, salted brown butter and cajeta {Mexican caramel}. It turned out to be a perfect combo of sweet + salty, yet light enough that no one hated themselves afterwards.

All told, Nuevo has a lot going for it, and I hope they do well. Our service was fantastic, which is a huge plus for a new restaurant. Next time, though, I think I’ll change it up – maybe soak in the bar scene, sip some cocktails, and snack on apps.

Nuevo Mod Mex
54 E. Mill St.
Akron, OH 44308
On the web:

{Parking is easy-peasy: on the street, with the valet, in the Library deck, or in the garage connected to their building.}

Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

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  1. I had my first margarita flight in NYC. I will NEVER forget it. Glad flights are moving west across the nation. And, there’s really nothing better than a great quesadilla so I will visit. (If I ever get back to Ohio!)

    • In my book, the only thing better than a margarita is a flight of margaritas. :)

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