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Chicago Area

De Cero on Randolph

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Restaurants & Bars

De Cero on Randolph

Hissyfit | Jul 12, 2004 11:37 PM

Had dinner Saturday night at De Cero on Randolph. Normally we would've waited a couple of weeks, but I really wanted Mexican and a friend recommended the tuna & mango tacos she'd tried at Taste of Randolph Street. According to our server, it was only their 2nd day of operation. It's very casual, one room non-smoking and the smoking area in a totally separate room with the bar. It's kind of hard to find - they didn't have the sign up yet. But it's right between Red Light and Starfish.

Our server was really friendly and eager-to-please. In fact, I wanted to tell him to stop constantly apologizing anytime something took more than a couple of minutes to get to the table - it made me a bit nervous. I'm sure it's just new restaurant jitters and they'll settle down once they get the rhythms. And honestly I'd much rather get too many apologies than the "we're too good to serve you let alone apologize" attitude at some places... Really, nothing took over-long to get to us and the service was very friendly.

Anyway, we started with a couple of drinks - I had a pear cilantro cocktail and my boyfriend had a margarita. My cocktail was very yummy - it was candy in a glass (not a bad thing, but I would have liked a bit more of a kick). The ingredients were very fresh, no mixers here. The BF's margarita was good too - not too sweet or sour, good balance. Later I had a hibiscus margarita, which I wasn't as crazy about - it was a bit on the bitter side. I tend to like drinks a little more sweet/sour. There are other very interesting cocktail choices I'll go back to try, like a raspberry basil margarita or a pina margarita.

We got the chips with 3 salsas for an appetizer. Not original, but I could easily eat my weight in chips & salsa and I judge a Mexican place by how good the chips & salsa are. The chips were warm & fresh made, not too salty. The salsas were some of the best I've had - tomatilla with a nice lime flavor, traditional pico and a nice smokey chipotle. Very generous portions and they refill the chips without being asked.

For our main meal, I had a tuna mango taco, chipotle chicken taco and queso taco. The only disappointment was the queso taco - the cheese was overly broiled and dry. And it was supposed to have roasted red peppers on it, but I didn't see any. In fact, I initially thought they'd brought an empty tortilla shell until my BF pointed out the broiled cheese. The other 2 tacos were very flavorful. The tuna mango taco has a nice little bit of unexpected heat. The chipotle chicken was moist and tender. There's a generous amount of filling in both. They have at least a dozen taco offerings, all with freshly made tortillas. They're $2 or $3 each.

My BF had the carne asada. He said it was very good, perfectly cooked and seasoned. Mostly though, he was impressed with the pinto beans that came with - they were mashed with spices and meat & he probably would have eaten an entire plate of just those.

We were too stuffed for dessert, but they offered the traditional flan as well as a few others. If tehy add some outdoor tables, it'll be a great place to sit and have drinks and appetizers after work too. We'll definitely go back.

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