Omaha has always had its own unique take on Mexican food. Things like puffy tacos, enchiladas made with flour tortillas, and margaritas made with Rose’s lime juice can be found at just about every Mexican restaurant in town. Some may be surprised to learn that you would be hard pressed to find any of those things in Mexico. Mula, which opened in June, decided to buck this trend by serving authentic Mexican street food.
Owner Michael Sanchez is no stranger to the Omaha style of Mexican food. His Grandmother is Maria, the namesake of the famed Maria’s Mexican Restaurant in Ralston. Sanchez has been running Maria’s for the last several years and has shown his talents by upping the ante at Maria’s in most every way. Regardless of his local knowledge of the ins and outs of Omaha-style Mexican food, he has decided to take a risk and serve a much more traditional style of Mexican food at Mula.
The restaurant is located on the corner of 39th and Farnam. The outer brick building gives way to a beautiful modern interior that is well-designed but not “over designed.” I really liked the rustic wooden table tops, the pewter-colored bar top, and the bright orange walls. It’s a very handsome space.
The menu is straightforward and mainly consists of appetizers, tacos, and tortas, which are basically the Mexican version of a sandwich. There is also a variety of salsas, guacamoles, and side dishes to choose from and, of course, authentic churros for dessert just like you would buy on a street corner in Mexico. Everything is a la carte, so it’s fun to just order a taco or three at a time, kind of like you would do when eating sushi. At $2.50 a taco, it’s certainly a lot cheaper than sushi and, for me, much more enjoyable.
On a recent visit, we sampled the Queso Flameado Appetizer ($7). This delicious dip features boracho beans, queso chihuahua, ancho chili, chicharrones, and pepita (pumpkin seed) salsa. We also tried the Huevo Con Chorizo Appetizer ($6.5). This was soft boiled egg served with some of the best chorizo I have had in ages topped with a zesty salsa verde. We also tried a plethora of different tacos including Al Pastor Taco ($2.5), Carnitas Taco ($2.5), Baja Fish Taco ($2.5) and Carne Asada Taco ($2.5). All of the tacos were outstanding and went well with the Salsa Flight ($12) that I ordered to dress them up. The salsas included a Charred Pineapple Salsa, Roasted Tomato Salsa and a Tomatillo Salsa. All of which were top notch. We also tried the Machaca Torta ($8) and the Chicken Tinga Torta ($8). The tortas are much bigger than the tacos. Almost a meal in themselves, the tortas are suitable for sharing. They come on a freshly baked telera bread with sliced tomatoes, charred jalapenos, avocado, black bean spread, shredded lettuce, house crema, and roasted garlic mayonnaise. Combined with Mula’s great proteins, these sandwiches are incredible. Of course, we also had to try Mula’s Green Rice and Boracho Beans ($5). These were great and probably the most authentic beans and rice I have ever had in Omaha. As if all of this was not enough I also managed to take a couple of bites out of an order of Churros ($6). If you have ever had these on the street in Mexico, you know how good they can be. Mula manages to duplicate this experience.
The food at Mula is some of the best Mexican food I have had in Omaha or, for that matter, in the entire Midwest. Couple that with the service also being excellent. I was particularly impressed with my server’s knowledge of traditional Mexican flavors and ingredients. I have yet to even mention the bar, but I can tell you it has everything you could want in a Mexican Tequileria, including, by my slightly tipsy count, over 160 tequilas.
All of which combines to make Mula a place that everyone reading this should make a point of checking out. If you’re like me and favor a more traditional style of Mexican food, you’re going to love Mula! Cheers!