In 2012 I was introduced to the raw milk cheeses and butter of Ramonetti Dairy and La Cava del Marcelo at dinner at the now-closed Sarmiento in Ensenada. The chef/owner had suggested that I visit the cheesemaker in Ojos Negros on a future visit. Fast forward to 2015, the family that has operated the dairy for four generations opened a restaurant and market, Casa Marcelo, in Ensenada.
Casa Marcelo was our breakfast stop on Day 3.
Most of the seating is outdoors on a lovely patio under dappled shade. We ordered three breakfast plates to share.
The complimentary amuse-bouche, a creamy cloud of fresh ricotta topped with herb pesto and dots of guacamole served with house- baked bread, was an excellent start.
Cochinita pibil, served on a buttermilk bun, was desiccated and tough. A far cry from the signature suckling pig of the Yucatan. Our egg ordered over-easy was not. The side salad of spinach leaves and what might have been quinoa and/or amaranth rather than the black beans described on the menu had no taste at all, devoid of salt, dressing or seasoning of any kind.
The Machaca de cola de res (oxtails) we'd ordered as optional topping on the Chilaquiles Verdes and the luxurious crema de rancho were the highlights of this dish. Otherwise, this casserole-style chilaquiles was a disappointing and soggy mess without crunchy chips.
Plato Marcelo is the signature breakfast plate featuring barbacoa de borrego tatemada. Overcooked nopales made the dish slimy, and the raw mushrooms added nothing to the composition.
Taking a closer look at Plato Marcelo, this photo shows the surface of the cheese and barbacoa that was seared on the plancha. Cheese cooked to this shade of brown-black tasted burnt and bitter. Positives on this plate were the sunnyside up eggs.
Hot chocolate was weak.
Not a good showing at Casa Marcelo. We liked the complimentary ricotta, the oxtail machaca and the hot sauce on the table. And the kitchen can cook a sunnyside egg properly. As would be expected of an eatery owned by an artisanal creamery, the crema, cheese and butter included on the plates were high quality and abundant. In looking at photos of the food here from a year ago, the plates looked far more detailed and precise in presentation. Maybe the A-team was not working on our morning? Definitely a lot of execution problems here.
We stepped over the market side of the operation to taste some cheeses. We bought butter and ricotta to take home with us.
Avenida Riveroll 746, Zona Centro, 22800
Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
+52 646 117 0293