Nothing says Mexican like a good sauce. Luis Montero and Angel Hernandez – who brought the city decidedly non Tex-Mex, seafood-heavy fare with Logan Square's Fonda del Mar
– opened a new place to further their mission of transforming American conceptions about real deal Mexican. Mole verde (served on adobo-marinated pork chop) and creamy walnut-goat-cheese (covering grilled tilapia) are among the new sauces to go ga-ga over.
Sure, they've still got famous Fonda Del Mar fabulous going on: sweet corn tamales ($7) with poblano cream sauce and Chihuahua cheese, lime-marinated marlin fish ceviche ($9), and tilapia tacos ($8) with chipotle mayonnaise. But the emphasis running throughout the rest of menu is urban sophisticate. The crispy beets in the garlic marinated grilled salmon with tomatillo-serrano-epazote sauce ($20), for example, or the white wine caramelized potatoes in the garlic-marinated grilled fish (halibut or tilapia) of the day, $22.
And the creatively fancy edge in the food jigs harmoniously with the equal parts romantic and super cool ambiance: serene lounge vibe in shiny wood floors, white tablecloths, and laid-back soundtrack of Latin electronica. This is the kind of place to show your date (or friends) you're totally hip to the trick.
Wine choices aren't shabby, either. Montero has hand-picked a list of bottles along the lines of Californian Blanc Gris and Chilean Sauvignon Blanc (available in carafe, too), designed to pair perfectly with the haute cuisine.
If none of the above grabs you, go for a weekend brunch fix like huevos mexicana - scrambled eggs with cilantro, Serrano, onion, cherry tomatoes and avocado. But don't say you're tired of Mexican until you try this culinary tour on for size.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Marla Seidell