Mesa Urbana - Chicago
Mesa Urbana, located in a peaceful Lincoln Park neighborhood, brings together world cuisines -- French, Asian, Mediterranean, Indian and Latin American -- with a menu of outstanding dishes that honor culinary traditions while innovating on traditional dishes with tasteful creativity. Glancing down the menu, you'll see familiar Mexican items -- like guacamole and queso fundido -- prepared with a difference that's both daring and delicious.
At Mesa Urbana, the familiar is rendered special. The guacamole, for instance, is more than just a bowl of creamy green; it's dressed up with cucumber, jicama, watermelon radish, and yellow beet, a meal in itself (almost). More than just a bowl of warm cheese, the queso fundido at Mesa Urbana is gussied up with shrimp, cheese, tomato, poblano, and molcajete salsa.
Looking for something different? Then check out the tequila pasta with mixed bell peppers, cilantro, cerrano, and chicken, all in a tangy, creamy sauce.
Many familiar menu items are taken a step further, and you're going to like it. The halibut is crusted with risotto and dressed with tomato fennel ragout, capers, basil, and anchovies -- one of the best presentations of this fish in memory. The mussels are cooked with leeks and garlic and served in a stellar chipotle cream sauce.
Chefs at Mesa Urbana source from local farms and the ingredients are gorgeous. Heirloom carrots and other pristine produce find their way onto the menu, and if superior steak is your meat of choice, the carne asada is a USDA prime Allen Brothers skirt steak, served with nopales and beans. Of course, you can get a burger, and even that will be USDA prime, and one of the best you will find in the area.
Mesa Urbana offers a range of wines and beer, and the speciality cocktails utilize fresh fruit juices and handcrafted syrups.
The outdoor patio is an oasis of flavors and calm in Lincoln Park, full of life and good food.