Holy Frijoles

Corazón y Miel reinvents Mexican cooking in an unexpected location

It's hard these days to find news from the city of Bell that doesn't involve deposed politicians.

But in this sleepy industrial neighborhood 20 minutes east of Downtown, there's a different coup now occurring, spearheaded by former Animal chef Eduardo Ruiz and his two business partners. They're the team behind the enchanting new restaurant Corazón y Miel.

Tweaking homespun Mexican and Salvadoran recipes in a fashion reminiscent of Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's refinement of Southern cooking, the menu at Corazón y Miel is fun without being gimmicky; modern but satisfyingly soulful.

The sopa de lima ($8), chicken consommé fortified with lime and cabbage, then draped with poblano-pepper dumplings and salt-tossed fried chicken feet, was shockingly good.

Shrimp ceviche ($10), which hid a subtle Sichuan kick from the addition of burnt peanuts and red chile oil, spun familiar flavors into tantalizing new territory.

The succulent pan con chompipe ($16) is a visual stunner: a gargantuan turkey leg drowned in garlicky red sauce and pickled vegetables, so tender that the drumstick can be removed with a twist.

Can buttoned-down Bell support a progressively offbeat restaurant? This might be the most compelling argument yet.

We, for one, love an underdog that can cook.