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La Ciudad--neighorhood ambitious, friendly Mexican

La Ciudad--neighorhood ambitious, friendly Mexican
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  • La Ciudad--neighorhood ambitious, friendly Mexican

    Post #1 - September 5th, 2011, 12:49 am
    Post #1 - September 5th, 2011, 12:49 am Post #1 - September 5th, 2011, 12:49 am
    I just typed in a whole report and then lost it by accidentally closing the browser. I know, I should type it in Word and then paste it in. So shoot me. Here goes a brief recap:

    Overall: really nice place located in an absurdly desolate little bit of south Uptown. Apparently they've been open about 18 mos.
    At Wilson and Sheridan you have the McD's, where the homeless still line up around the parking lot waiting for the church across the street to open their programs. On the diagonal corner is a vacant lot where once a Burger King, and then a lesser, no-name fast food box each failed. Proceed south down Sheridan for a block and you get to the strip mall which holds Ciudad. There are about 8 store fronts here: 2 are pawn shops, 1 is a laundromat, and at least 2 or three are vacant.

    Nonetheless, La Ciudad is a warm, bustling and inviting little spot in this desert. They have walled off a bit of the parking lot at their front door for an al fresco area, and believe it or not, it's quite cheerful. Largely because there's so little traffic to the rest of the strip. Inside, the staff are enthusiastic, knowledgeable about the food, and competent at serving. The hostess when we went was a petite and stunning black woman with elaborately styled hair and a lovely dress. No black slacks white oxford shirt here.
    Entrees run from under $10 to mid-teens. Chalkboard specials (there was tilapia, salmon, and lamb chops), can crack $20.
    Starting chips and salsa were house-made, fresh and good. The salsas (one red/one green) were both roasted and tangy. Not much heat, but good flavor. Guac. was fresh and generously portioned, if a bit bland. Not served with any lime or lemon, though I'm sure they would have provided it if asked.
    Place was almost completely full when we arrived, including a just-sat special party of 15. Despite this neither staff nor kitchen seemed overwhelmed and everything flowed smoothly. Not bad for a 50-seat-ish joint.
    I hadn't been planning to eat out and wasn't hungry, so I only had 2 a la carte tacos. Pastor, and veggie. The pastor had nice crunchy bits and, I'd swear, a cinnamon note in the spicing. Didn't get to ask what made up the veggie filling but there were certainly nopales in there.
    Tortilla soup looked and smelled very good and the 2 10 yr. olds eating it loved it. I didn't get to try. Our friend loved her enchilada with mole. Mrs. B. had what she described as very fresh but ultimately not exceptional mango/avocado salad with avocado cream dressing.
    Tres leches was one of the better versions I've had. I'm not an afficionado here, but they often seem a bit gloppy and soaked. This one retained its integrity as cake, but had all the richness one expects. Very enjoyable.
    The whole vibe of the place was just what one wants in such a neighborhood place. Lots of recognizing and hugging of regulars. Relaxed happy atmosphere. Surprisingly efficient serving and busing for a small and crowded place like this.
    BYOB ads to the value. We ate (3 adults/2 kids) for about $60.

    La Ciudad
    4515 N. Sheridan
    773/728-2887
    www.laciudadgrill.com
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #2 - September 5th, 2011, 8:04 am
    Post #2 - September 5th, 2011, 8:04 am Post #2 - September 5th, 2011, 8:04 am
    mrbarolo wrote:I just typed in a whole report and then lost it by accidentally closing the browser. I know, I should type it in Word and then paste it in. So shoot me.


    AAARGH! I hate it when that happens! :evil:

    Thanks for the find. I'm often in this neighborhood looking for someplace to eat.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #3 - September 7th, 2011, 2:44 pm
    Post #3 - September 7th, 2011, 2:44 pm Post #3 - September 7th, 2011, 2:44 pm
    Nice to hear. I've walked past there several times and thought about trying the Chilango burger, which looks intriguing (hot dog and fries on top). I've been too squeamish to try a hamburger in Mexico City other than at Sanborns, so I don't know whether that combo is a common native dish. Anyone have insight on that question? I'll be in Mexico City in late October, and might give it a whirl, although if there is one street food less appealing to me than the hamburgers, I think it would have to be the sad and dangerous looking hot dogs on offer in Alameda Park (maybe I'm not looking in the right places...)
    JiLS
  • Post #4 - October 12th, 2011, 3:14 pm
    Post #4 - October 12th, 2011, 3:14 pm Post #4 - October 12th, 2011, 3:14 pm
    We visited La Ciudad a few weeks ago, and it was clear that the place had caught on with a crowd of folks in their mid-thirties celebrating Friday night birthdays. at a reasonable price in this somewhat stylish room with BYOB. Unfortunately, the food was somewhat underseasoned overall. A shrimp appetizer, while not overcooked and presented attractively, was bland. The mole negro that accompanied my husband's (enormous portion of oddly butchered) lamb and my corundas was boring and too sweet for my taste. Service was exceedingly pleasant and gracious, however. I'd return to La Ciudad with the intention of ordering more simply, as did the OP, and see how I fare.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #5 - November 6th, 2011, 10:07 am
    Post #5 - November 6th, 2011, 10:07 am Post #5 - November 6th, 2011, 10:07 am
    Last night was my first visit to La Ciudad, and while I thought the service was very good, I won't be running back for the food. Salsas and chips were good, as was the guacamole. Josephine, you hit the nail on the head about the mole - way too sweet, also too much cinnamon, and totally lacking the complexity of a good mole. One of my friends was doing his best to scrape it off his enchilada because he found it so sweet.

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