Diners don't normally see sea urchin on a menu at a Mexican restaurant, but they will when Dos Urban Cantina opens later this month in Logan Square. The item, with a tomatillo jelly and a green apple/tomatillo salsa, contains the balance and textures that make Mexican food special for chef Brian Enyart. Enyart and wife Jennifer Jones (who will supply the desserts) are Topolobampo alums, adding to the growing group of chefs opening restaurants inspired by Rick Bayless.
Unlike another Bayless alum, Anselmo Ramírez, who draws upon his Mexican heritage at Ixcateco Grill, Enyart's menu isn't traditional. He heaped praise on Ramírez, Bayless and anyone else who does regional Mexican cuisine, but that's not what they're going for at Dos Urban Cantina. Enyart does use familiar architecture, he talks about the simple formula for a taco — the tortilla, protein, veggies, lime juice and garnish— and how that crosses over.
"I think inherently, that Mexican food is very well balanced and that you can carry it through the upper echelons in dining," Enyart said.
The buttered chayote is another item that Enyart's proud of, along with the goat albondigas, which he said is indicative of everything that Dos Urban Cantina's trying to accomplish. They're gunning for a comfortable atmosphere while delivering good value to the consumer.
Meanwhile, Jones' six desserts also play off traditional flavors. The piloncillo sugar pie with malted whipped cream, and pecan toffee is a highlight. It's made with raw sugar from Mexico, brown sugar notes and floral-like maple syrup. There's also a simple slice of chocolate cake, and a tres leches cake.
"With these desserts, I really felt like we wanted to focus on high-quality production, and just very well made items," Jones said. "We're presenting them in a way that you can't hide anything, there's not an over abundance of garnishes...you're going to be blown away by the provisions of the execution."
There's more than 80 selections on the wine list, three handles for draft beer and 24 local and Mexican beers total. Nine craft cocktails appear. Yes, the list includes a margarita. Check out the full menus below.
Dos Urban Cantina opens Nov. 17 at 2829 W. Armitage Ave. and will only serve dinner. Enyart hopes to add brunch sometime in the future.