Chef Mark Estee, a James Beard semif-inalist for Best Chef and a familiar face from the Food Network and Cooking Channel, is now the culinary force behind Vuelo Mexican Grill, which opened in Tampa on Bruce B Downs Blvd. in October.


The Mexican and Latin-influenced menu features fresh ingredients and made-from-scratch dishes.


Chef Estee divides his time between his restaurants and home in Reno Nevada and his new culinary venture in Tampa.

 Bubbling Molcajete Bowl from Vuelo Mexican Grill

A molcajete is the Mexican mortar and pestle, which is used to create a number of dishes in Mexico. At Vuelo, we use hand-carved molcajetes from Mexico.Beef Molcajete

Crispy Potatoes – 3 oz

Tender Beef Pieces (filet mignon) – 6 oz

Beef Sauce – 4 oz

Onions & Peppers – 3oz

Charred Green Onions

Tortillas (6” inch, flour or corn) 3

Sour Cream – 2 T

Pico de Gallo – ¼ cup

Creamy Verde – 2 oz

The important part is that the molcajete bowl is very hot. (kind of like a hot sizzling fajita platter). So, place your molcajete bowls in the oven at 350 degrees for at least 30 minutes. It will be hot when you go to use it, so handle with care!Beef Pieces

Buy a great piece of meat like a filet mignon and slice into 1” strips.Crispy Potatoes

Peel and dice 1 small russet potato and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and cool. Heat up a saute pan and put a ¼ cup of corn oil and fry the potatoes and set to the sideOnions & Peppers

Cut ½ green pepper into strips and 1/8 of small onion into stripsBeef Sauce

1 T chopped garlic garlic

2 oz yellow onion

2oz chopped green bell pepper

1 cup sliced mushrooms

½ tsp green peppercorns

1 chopped Roma tomato

Sauté the above ingredients and then deglaze pan with ¼ cup of red wine. Add 1 qt of water, 1 tbls of beef base and simmer 15 minutes. Add ¼ of cooked rice and puree in a blender, then strain through a strainer into a container. This will be the sauce for the molcajete. Set to side Creamy Verde 

8 oz fresh tomatillos

1 T chopped cilantro

1 tsp chopped garlic

½ T chopped shallots

1 green onion

1 avocado, peeled and nut removed

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup blended olive oil or corn oil

1 T lime juice

Roasted tomatillos, garlic, shallots, & onions in the oven at 350 degrees until tender. Pull from oven and place in a blender and add avocado, lime juice, cilantro and blend until smooth. Pico De Gallo

2 small diced roma tomato

2 tsp small diced red onion

1 T chopped cilantro

2 T blended oil or olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

Toss well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Assembly of Molcajete 

Now take a saute pan and sear your beef for approximately 2 minutes, then add onions, green peppers, crispy potatoes and cook for another minute. Then add your beef sauce and simmer for 1 minute.

Remove your molcajete bowl from the hot oven (it will be hot so handle with care!) and pour contents into the hot molcajete bowl. Serve with tortillas with the sides of creamy verde salsa, sour cream and pico de gallo.