When CANTINA 1910 opened its doors not so long ago, there was immediate buzz about the space, food and concept. Having finally made my way over to check it out this past weekend, it’s easy to understand why. Cantina 1910 is doing something really great up in Andersonville, and it should be on the list of places you go to next.
The restaurant has three sections – communal/bar seating in the front, a dining room in the back, and a private dining space/2nd bar upstairs. Along the side of the building will also be their huge patio come Spring 2016. The space itself is gorgeous and welcoming – large, modern/slightly industrial feel yet very warm and cozy, two floors, amazing artwork and furniture choices.. I could go on, but you get the idea.
First up – drinks! The boyfriend tried the Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout, while I ordered the MELONCOTES cocktail (Milagro Blanco Tequila, peach, Beckarovka, Illinois sparkling wine). I’m not much of a beer drinker, and usually go for a wheat beer if anything, but the Blueberry Stout was delicious. Tart up front from the blueberries, but almost chocolate-y and made for a great match to Mexican food. My cocktail was pretty much the same type of cocktail I always steer towards on any menu – sparkling, fruity and sweet. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly fruit juice feel of it, though! There’s plenty of tequila in it, so no chugging allowed. As a sidenote, I’d say this particular cocktail would be perfect for brunch too!
The menu is what I would describe as precise. It may seem a little limited, but the dishes coming out of the kitchen are so well researched, created and executed, that you don’t need anything more. We let the Chef pick out the dishes for our meal, and were in for a surprising treat!
GUACAMOLE CON CRUDOS Y TOTADITAS | raw roots and fat washed tostaditas
Quite the perfect guacamole! Just the right amount of lime/salt ratio to avocado, no tomatoes, and topped with jicama and beets for a great texture component. The tortilla chips for dipping are super crunchy and also perfectly salted.
CORAZON CURADO | salted beef heart, turnip, apple, briote chips, cured egg yolk
While I love crudo and carpaccio, I’ve never had beef heart. This was quite a treat, and equally interesting and creative. There was just enough of that game-y, offal hint of flavor to it, but so tender and delicate that you could easily mistake the texture for filet.
CALLOS DE HACHA | bay scallops, chard pico de gallo, cauliflower crema, finger lime
To be honest, while I can enjoy a well-seared scallop, I tend to dislike raw preparations of it. Because this dish was based around thinly sliced, smaller bay scallops, it was actually not bad! That chard pico de gallo, though… YUM!
TORTILLA DE HARINA Y TUETANO | braised oxtail, pickled mushrooms on bone marrow flour tortilla
This take on a tostada was spot on! I’m not sure how long the oxtail was braised for, but it was super tender. They’re using bone marrow fat in the frying preparation of the tortilla and it makes for a rich, crispy base for its toppings.
NACHOS CON MORONGA | hand pressed chips, pork chili, pickled peppers, fennel
CHOCHOYOTES EN MOLE AMARILLO | masa dumplings, cauliflower, spaghetti squash, black queso
When you see this dish on the entree section of the menu, you may think it’s the only vegetarian option and that it’s probably an afterthought. You’d be wrong. This dish is so well thought-out and creative, while keeping with core modern Mexican flavors. Even the boyfriend, who barely eats any vegetables, enjoyed it. It’s obviously also very beautifully plated.
BISTEK AÑEJADO | twenty one day aged butcher’s cut steak, papas fritas, carrots, cascabel catsup
By the time this entree arrived at our table, we had already eaten all of the other dishes above… so needless to say, we were stuffed! However, as a carnivore, I couldn’t pass up at least a bite or four. Delish! Also, underneath the perfectly cooked steak, are crispy fried potatoes and grilled carrots. I mean, this is a solid entree dish! On my next visit, I want just this for dinner. Well… this, plus the guacamole and beef heart to start with. 😛
That said… please make your way up to Andersonville and check out Cantina 1910. They’re doing some amazing things in that kitchen… AND! They’re growing some herbs and veggies in their rooftop hydroponic garden right now, and will have a full garden come Spring. I love their concept, and their commitment to local ingredients. All of their ingredients – even what’s on the beer list – are all from vendors and farms within a 300mi radius from the restaurant. So if you’re into that kind of thing (which you should be), it’s double the satisfaction of enjoying good food while knowing exactly where every component of it came from. Go support!
CANTINA 1910 | 5025 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL — 60640