Welcome to the Second Puesto, Now Open at Park Place

If you expect Irvine’s second Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar—adjoining the new AC Marriott Hotel at Park Place—to be a knock-off of the first, you’re in for a surprise. The taco-centric menu is identical, but Puesto has otherwise outdone itself. Towering wooden arches, inspired by those of a 19th-century Mexican silver mine, dramatically frame ceilings and rock walls. Striking tile murals, one of a giant eye, are by California street artist Chor Boogie, and glass walls flip open for indoor-outdoor dining. Founder-tacoteur Eric Adler is particularly proud of the bar’s ingenious tequila carousel. Chef-partner Luisteen Gonzalez and executive creative chef Katy Smith create stone-ground blue corn tortillas layered with their signature crispy melted cheese. To this you can add zucchini and cactus, chicken al pastor with hibiscus chipotle tinga and piña habanero pico, or filet mignon with spicy pistachio serrano salsa. Guacamoles include the nogada, with pomegranate, mango, chile de arbol, and candied walnuts. Other house favorites: frozen horchata and pastry chef Jessica Scott’s piña colada carrot cake. In addition to tequilas and mescals, agave spirits include sotols, bacanoras, and raicillas. 3311 Michelson Drive, Irvine, 949-608-7272, eatpuesto.com

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