The Scottsdale Waterfront is overflowing with flashy restaurants with large patios, twinkling string lights, and canal views. But hiding on the other side of the shopping center, across from the multi-story parking lot, is a modern Mexican restaurant with a menu that demands attention.
Call Her Martina opened in April. From the outside, it looks like any other strip mall joint, wedged in between a men's salon and a poke bar. But inside, the space has been expertly designed. Large black and white pictures of old-time movie stars decorate the walls. Back-lit mirrors reflect the swanky dining room with its white tiles and black leather tables. Neon signs glow with phrases like "Martina Mi Amor."
Friendly servers dressed in all black whirl around the room, delivering brightly colored cocktails and dishes to hungry customers.
As we sat down, a trio of brightly colored salsas arrived at the table. While this dish hints at the customary free chips and salsa served at many Mexican restaurants, the presentation is new. Instead of chips, the dish includes a stack of crispy, round tostadas that taste more like an Indian papadum than a tortilla. Break each round into shards and dip into red, green, and orange salsas. Somehow, despite their vastly different appearances, the salsas all taste quite similar, like garlic and charred tomatoes.
Next, our server brings the cocktails. Decorated with edible flowers and artfully-added splashes of bitters, the drinks are gorgeous.
For those who love a good piña colada, When She Went to Tulum is another hit. Members of the Moreno family, who own the new restaurant, remembered a drink they enjoyed while visiting the Mexican beach town. They worked closely with cocktail expert Miguel Mora to recreate the drink, getting each element perfect.
Made with mezcal, coconut liqueur, pineapple amaro, falernum, lemon, and agave, this drink truly tastes of the tropics. It's light and boozy, served on the rocks, and topped with a slice of pineapple and a sprig of mint. While not creamy, thanks to coconut liqueur rather than cream or milk, this drink still manages to taste rich and decadent, a perfect cooling antidote to the spicy and savory bites on the menu.
Our food order starts to arrive, first with the Ribeye Chicharron Guac ($21). After enjoying the chips and salsa, more tostadas weren't really necessary. But luckily this guac is good enough to eat with a fork. Fresh, bright green avocados blend with red onion and a topping of cilantro leaves and pomegranate seeds. To the side, a pile of plump beef cubes are speckled with salt crystals, begging to be scooped up with a big bite of avocado. The hot, salty steak contrasts with the cool, creamy guac and bright pops of pomegranate for an extremely satisfying bite.
The Elite Quesabirria ($14) consisted of two tacos filled with juicy birria and multiple tiny mugs of sides. One contained a rich consume for dipping, another had a small amount of smooth, cheese-topped refried beans, and lastly, salsa macha, a chile oil. The tacos were greasy in a cheesy, indulgent way, best dipped in the accompaniments.
When ordering the Tuna Fresco Tostada ($15), our server asked, "just one?" Um, yes?
As the booming music droned on, we shouted across the table about options for dessert. After an animated recommendation from our server, we ordered the flan. This is your can't-miss dish.
Call Her Martina strikes the perfect balance for its location in Scottsdale. The restaurant is modern, trendy, and filled with loud music and stylish customers. But overall, the food is what stands out. A modern take on Mexican food showcases familiar flavors and breathes new life into classic dishes. Customers would not be remiss to stop by for some cocktails, guac, and, of course, that devastatingly good flan.
Whether you live in the Valley, or you're just passing through, make a trip to Scottsdale, skip the flashy storefronts, and seek out this spot. Call Her Martina calls you back.
Call Her Martina
7135 East Camelback Road, #165, Scottsdale