Come May 12, Gold Coasters will get a new upscale yet approachable place to tip back tableside margaritas and fresh ceviche. Cantina 46, a new project from the Urban Restaurant Group, will take over the former Salute space just down the street from the Peninsula Hotel. The group partnered with Salute owner Dominic Gaziano to revamp the space and create this new concept.
The food, crafted by Servando Camargo (Table Fifty-Two, Rockit), will see classic and affordable Mexican dishes like the signature Cantina 46 red snapper ceviche, grilled shrimp empanadas, shredded pork loin tamal, ancho-rubbed seared skirt steak, mini tacos al pastor and mini chicken tacos with chipotle mayo, and of course, guacamole made fresh at the table in a molcajete.
Camargo will also have vegetarian-focused dishes like chile rellenos and vegetable enchiladas. And the chef requested the team get rid of the freezer; he wants to prepare everything fresh daily. They will, however, have a small freezer for ice cream. Everything on the menu will range from $3.95 to $20.
One of the cooler elements will be the "tableside" margaritas: All waiters will have bottle of Centinario Plata tequila on their hip and will pour a one-ounce float tableside on top of the margarita that was mostly constructed at the bar. Even better? It'll only be $7. URG consulted with Adam Seger, who helped create their cocktail program. It will feature five signature cocktails, including the margarita: a mojito, classic red sangria, a caipirinha and a Hum paloma, incorporating Seger's spirit, Hum.
Cantina 46 takes over a 136-year-old classic building and is adding some modern flourishes. Inside the 100-seat restaurant (including a 50-seat patio), Ideation Studio designer Jennifer Nemic took white porcelain tiles and made a textured and raised wall treatment. A long, linear stainless steel fireplace will hang from the wall and be lit with large column candles instead of running gas into it. The bar will feature an Aztec and Mayan motif on the lower half and the chocolate brown wood floors were reclaimed. Outside on the patio, Nemic will create an arid desert-like al fresco dining area with a lush garden and hanging lanterns.
"There's really not much in the neighborhood and it's hard to get into [Rick] Bayless' place and Mercadito," said Andrew Spence, a partner at Urban Restaurant Group. "There's a hole in the market and we feel Cantina 46 will fill that void. We really want the attention to detail that comes with fine dining, but we want a fun attentive understated type of service."
Once the restaurant opens on May 12, it'll serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.