Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Nadine Levy Redzepi of Downtime: Deliciousness at Home | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Area

de cero review (long)


Restaurants & Bars 1

de cero review (long)

jq | Aug 6, 2004 12:28 PM

Went to de cero last night with my husband hoping for a great Mexican place within walking distance from home. Wow, what a disappointment. I realize they just opened, but IMO now is the time they should be at their best to ensure repeat business.

After we were seated we both ordered the de cero margarita thinking it would be the tastiest one on the menu (especially since having it's namesake). It was too sweet and too strong and took 20 minutes to get. I love a margarita with a kick, but this was a little extreme.

After receiving our margaritas from a different server (not uncommon) we ordered the duck nachos, which were excellent. They are dressed individually (moist duck, queso and fresh salsa) and served piping hot on a fajita pan.

After we gobbled those down we expected to have the opportunity to order our entrees. Our server zinged by grabbing our empty fajita pan while promising to be right back to take our order. She did not return for at least 25 min. During that time, a third server came by to ask us if we needed anything after seeing our perplexed faces. After my husband politely explained that our server was nowhere to be found and that we would simply like to order, she sat down right next to him and verbatim said " Well what do you want?" in a rude, burdened manner.

We ordered 6 different tacos off of the ala carte menu thinking this would be the best way to get a broad tasting. Again we waited, this time at least 30 min, if not longer. During our wait, not once did our original server or any other server come by. Instead they zipped by at the speed of light to avoid us, while quickly glancing over only to make sure we were still there.

By the time our tacos arrived we were starving (even after the duck nachos). Excited to try such different concoctions (battered catfish with Mexican coleslaw, seared marlin with pickled jalapeno, grilled tuna with pico de gallo, three cheese with roasted poblano and grilled skirt steak) we were every disappointed. The tuna had no flavor at all. The three cheese was broiled to no end and there were no poblanos to be found. The seared marlin was dry and overcooked. The grilled skirt steak was ok, nothing special and the battered catfish was just decent.

After eating only enough to fill our stomachs, we just wanted to leave. Once again our server must have passed by at least 3 times before she would respond to us simply asking for the check. While waiting a busboy came by and nicely cleared our plates (this was sadly the highlight of the evening).

We paid the bill and before we even stood up another busboy hovered over us and began wiping down our table.

Now I understand it takes a lot for a new restaurant to get its bearings and work out all the kinks, but this just too much. Hopefully they will get their acts together and become a great place. They have the creativity and the style, but they really need to work on the execution and staff.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound