dos Urban Cantina

April 7, 2016

The Chicago Tribune recently named Logan Square's dos Urban Cantina "the most important Mexican restaurant to open in Chicago since Topolobampo." That's a strong statement and one that was made after I visited for dinner. dos Urban Cantina opened in November and is a collaboration between husband and wife chef duo Brian Enyart and Jennifer Jones Enyart who used to work at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, as well as Michael Rotolo and Erika Martinez Rotolo, formerly of Joe's Stone Crab and Lettuce Entertain You. This group knows a thing or two when it comes to running a restaurant, and no, this is not your neighborhood taco joint.

The BF and I joined our friends Hannah and Matt for a Saturday double date. The only reservation we could get was a late one, and this place can be hard to get a weekend reservation at all. The space is large with a separate bar area and dining room. We arrived early and enjoyed a glass of wine at the bar until our table was ready. It wasn't just any glass of wine, but a Chilean cabernet sauvignon so delicious they sold out by the end of the night. Hannah and Matt ended up buying a bottle online after our visit, it was that good. The drink list features 80 wines, draft and bottled beers, as well as 9 craft cocktails.

The menu at dos is meant for sharing, so I'd recommend going with a small group to try a variety of dishes. We shared five dishes and two desserts and it was plenty of food to leave us feeling satisfied. The menu is divided up into sections based on main ingredient including vegetables, masa, seafood, meat, sweets, and a section of snacks. We tried to order across the menu and started with the chips and dips with guajillo salsa, guacamole, and pumpkin seed hummus. I wish it hadn't taken me this long to try pumpkin seed hummus! It may not look pretty, but it's delicious! The salsa was fresh and flavorful and the guac included nice large chunks of avocado.

Logan Square
Guacamole, Guajillo Salsa and Pumpkin Seed Hummus

Next up was the grilled mushroom dish which was one of my favorites. It featured chestnut cornbread on top of a oaxacan red mole, with maitake and shimeji mushrooms. The cornbread was so soft and buttery, and paired nicely with the rich mole and mushrooms. I loved the choice of mushrooms used as well.

Logan Square
Grilled Mushrooms, Oaxacan Red Mole, Chestnut Cornbread
The prettiest and most flavorful dish of the evening were the raw scallops in spicy lime aguachile, chia seeds, and roasted sweet potato. It looked like an abstract piece of art on the plate! And chia seeds? What an unexpected pairing. This dish puts all ceviche to shame. It's light, fresh, and perfectly acidic.

Logan Square
Raw Scallops, Spicy Lime Aguachile, Chia Seeds, Roasted Sweet Potato
From the masa section, we enjoyed their take on elotes, with cotija, mayo, hominy, and masa pudding. Essentially it's corn three ways! I loved the contrast between the creamy pudding mixed with pieces of corn and hominy on top. A generous serving of shaved cotija never hurt either!

Logan Square
Street Style Corn, Cotija, Mayo, Hominy, Masa Pudding
Our last dish before dessert was the enchilada a la plaza. Nothing about this dish is traditional, but really, you could say that about a lot of the menu (it's a good thing). Tender pieces of stewed guajillo chile chicken are layered with roasted potatoes, carrots, onions, and sweet potatoes, and cubes of queso fresco. The chicken was well cooked, but I felt like the dish needed more flavor and seasoning overall.

Logan Square
Enchilada a la Plaza, Guajillo Chile Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, Queso Fresco
To round out our meal, we enjoyed two desserts by chef Jennifer Jones Enyart since we couldn't decide on just one. The first was a given since it was described on the menu as "The best chocolate cake. Ever." The comparison to Portillo's chocolate cake was an immediate one, although this version was a bit lighter, and the chocolate richer and higher quality. It was super moist, and the luscious frosting was painted on so perfectly it was a pity to break into.

Logan Square
The Best Chocolate Cake Ever.
Our second indulgence was the piloncillo sugar pie, which should really be called crack pie. It's that addicting. The piloncillo sugar from Mexico tastes similar to brown sugar and adds a similar richness. The pie was topped with malted whipped cream and chunks of pecan toffee. The crust is light and crispy and beautifully holds together the sweet filling. If you have a sweet tooth, this dish will certainly satisfy.

Logan Square
Piloncillo Sugar Pie, Malted Whipped Cream, Pecan Toffee
I had a wonderful meal and experience at dos Urban Cantina and our service was excellent. If you're looking for free chips and salsa and greasy tacos, this isn't your spot. If you want a creative approach to Mexican fare set in a lively dining room, you'll be in good hands. 

I'm giving dos Urban Cantina 4.5 ghosts out of 5!
2829 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
dos Urban Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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