Friday, May 7, 2010

De Cero

Located in the trendy restaurant blocks of Randolph Street, de cero is among good restaurant company including Veresway and Sushi Wabi that are owned by the same group.  The P^2 were out to dinner yet again and out to create a ruckus on Cinqo de Mayo.  We made reservations for 6:30pm, which is generally a crowded time for popular restaurants, to celebrate Sindhu’s birthday.  Our foursome has had good luck in finding restaurants that suit all of our dietary needs: me as a gluten-free eater, Sindhu as a pescitarian, Tejus with his lactose intolerance and Chris who just doesn’t really like seafood. 
Even though our offices hosted a cinqo de mayo celebration during lunch where we feasted on excellent Mexican foods catered by Chicago Chef Elaina Vazquez, we still were starving by the time we made it to de cero.  Margaritas arrived to the table with our guacamole ($8.75) and pico de gallo ($2.50). The hibiscus margarita was slightly sweet, not too sour and hit the spot after a day at the office.  We ordered the guacamole HOT and it was pretty spicy given that it was served with chopped green jalapenos right atop the mound of my favorite green food.  The pico de gallo was made with fresh ingredients chopped into small cubes and tossed together.
On a previous occasion, I experienced the fantastic duck nachos ($9.75) which, like the menu says, is a house favorite.  The duck confit with melted Chihuahua and topped with bacon mashed pinto beans, pico de gallo and crema is an incredible mix of flavors though is probably extremely caloric and unhealthy.
De cero, which means “from zero” or “from scratch”, hand makes each of their corn tortillas for tacos.  I love the selection of unique tacos on the menu that you can mix and match at $3.95 a piece.  This time, I had a taste for rice and beans and went for the three taco plate ($14.95).  For the tacos, I selected the skirt steak, chorizo sausage and ahi tuna.  The skirt steak was marinated, cubed and topped with potato, onion, cilantro and chipotle mayo.  The mayo gives a bit of a creamy unique flavoring and the potato adds a little bulk to the taco.  The chorizo wasn’t at all greasy or thick and was served with potato, cilantro and crema.  Lastly, the ahi tuna was seared medium-rare with achiote and mango habanero salsa.  The tuna was really fresh and the habanero salsa gives a little of a sweet kick to the flavor.  I was happy because I had a delicious variety of tacos, fulfilling each taco craving possible.  The white rice and beans came alongside in a separate bowl.
The dim lit room filled with wooden tables arranged into long rows wasn’t the most conducive place for private and quiet conversations.  The buzz of multiple conversations in the same open space makes the restaurant feel alive with energy.  Beyond the delicious food, this was one of the loudest meals we had.  At one point, the entire room turned around to stare at us with envy of wanting to be included in the conversation…. er… maybe they were annoyed that we were so disruptive to their own conversations.  Though it was a Wednesday night, every table was filled and the restaurant even turned over its diners while we continued chatting away.   We enjoyed the chance to dine and laugh together, as this sadly could be one of our last P^2 meals.

814 W Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607

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