NEW IN TOWN: Delicia

Considering its hot SoBro location, inventive Latin-inspired food and drinks, and gorgeous (yet comfortable) interiors, Delicia (5215 N. College Ave., 317-925-0677) will have no problem filling its 125 seats on Friday and Saturday nights. Was this really the former Movie Gallery space we were talking about months ago? We were impressed from the moment we entered: Delicia packs plenty of panache. Sure, it’s on board with the reclaimed-wood trend. But here, the exposed wood beams are mixed in with ambient lighting, a curved partial wooden ceiling, glass arched accents, and white-glazed brick walls. It definitely works.

Once we were seated, our dignified and warm server walked us through the menu before dropping off an amuse-buche of Sancocho—a tasty beef broth soup flavored with plantains, garlic, pumpkin, and tiny chunks of celery and carrots. He explained that in many Latin cultures this soup prepares your appetite before a meal. Our forks were definitely at the ready. But what about drinks? We knew a crisp glass of Albarino was a given; the acidity would play nicely with the richness and the heat of our dishes. We also ordered the Fire & Ice tequila-based drink (Delicia’s take on a margarita). The chili-and-salt rimmed cocktail came with a giant circular ice cube floating in an jalapeño-infused reposado tequila flavored with hibiscus, basil, and habanero reduction. Drink up fast. That giant chilled ice ball is hiding dots of chilis inside.The heat just builds as it melts.

Among a variety of apertivos, the Queso Fundido con Chorizo—with its ooey-gooey skillet goodness—sticks out as a must-order. This rich and delectable “Mexican fondue” comes with housemade chorizo, melted Chihuahua and panela cheeses, and a tomato-poblano sauce. Just be prepared to fight over the last corn tortilla. It’s filling, but worth the splurge.

The highlight of the entree items were a trio of juicy scallops carefully wrapped with Serrano ham and topped with a fantastic lemon-cava sauce, matchsticked radishes, and microgreens. For dessert, we ordered the velvety, not-too-soggy Tres Leches sponge cake. Our server politely warned us the topping might not be what we were expecting (it was resting under a savory tomato marmalade). He kindly offered to request chocolate, instead. We opted for the challenge. The combination of the sweet and savory somehow worked (although the dollop of tomato was a bit too large for the cake). And for a strong finale? Our fine server carefully boxed our to-go containers and—with exquisite penmanship—marked each box. Buenas noches to us!