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    Post #1 - August 3rd, 2004, 9:22 pm
    Post #1 - August 3rd, 2004, 9:22 pm Post #1 - August 3rd, 2004, 9:22 pm
    Friday night went to De Cero (from scratch) on Randolph with some friends. They recently opened in the old MarySol space on Randolph and bill themselves as a modern day Taqueria. Same owners as Sushi Wabi.

    We started out with the fresh Guacamole and Duck Confit nachos.

    The guac was some of the best I have had in the city, spicy and citrusy, remniscent of fresh tableside guacamole at Adobo.

    The confit nachos were also solid with black bean and chihuahua cheese.

    After that we split a bunch of tacos:

    Seared Ahi Tuna with Mango Habanero Salsa

    Chorizo, Chicken Mole, Seared Garlic Gulf Shrimp, Marlin, and Duck.

    All the tacos were served in fresh made corn tortillas. Everything was fresh, spicy, zingy, and balanced. The only hitch is the ahi tuna was a little cool.

    All of this was served with three house salsas. The pureed tomatillo jalapeno was the best. The others were a basic red salsa cruda and a smoky chipotle tomato.

    Prices were like 2-3 bucks per taco and apps between 2 and 8.

    The ambience was ok. They muted down the colors of the old Marysol to beige, adobe, and teal and there was nothing on the walls, very zen latino. In any case food is what really matters anyway, and on that count I am ready to go back.


    814 W. Randolph St.
    Chicago, IL 60607-2308
    312-455-8114
  • Post #2 - August 4th, 2004, 10:08 am
    Post #2 - August 4th, 2004, 10:08 am Post #2 - August 4th, 2004, 10:08 am
    I would add that service was a bit off. Our server was green and it added to the overall aloofness of the ambience.
    However, he tacos were excellent, tortillas definitely fresh. Though temperature was a problem with more than one or two of the tacos.
    Overall, very tasty and unique flavor combos and fairly reasonable pricing.
  • Post #3 - August 4th, 2004, 11:08 am
    Post #3 - August 4th, 2004, 11:08 am Post #3 - August 4th, 2004, 11:08 am
    I just heard that they are going to begin serving lunch next week.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - August 4th, 2004, 5:17 pm
    Post #4 - August 4th, 2004, 5:17 pm Post #4 - August 4th, 2004, 5:17 pm
    We were there a couple of weeks ago with a party of six. We split two of the taco platters and three entees. Everyone felt they ate well and the consensus was that we'd each go back.

    The house margaritas taste good but could use a touch more tequila.
  • Post #5 - September 26th, 2005, 3:26 pm
    Post #5 - September 26th, 2005, 3:26 pm Post #5 - September 26th, 2005, 3:26 pm
    I suppose the nicest thing I could say about De Cero is that I enjoyed the meat in a few of the tacos I tasted; the pork tasted like pork and the breaded catfish was flaky and crispy. Beyond that, I have no reason to return.

    De Cero bills itself as a taqueria and I suppose that is loosely accurate since they do indeed sell tacos. I have been to many taquerias, but never before have I been to a taqueria where they were surprised that I didn't have reservations. Nor have I ever been to one that served raspberry-basil-infused margaritas. And I definitely have never been to one that plays thumping club music so loud that the date-night crowd had to yell to hear each other ask "What the heck is 'crema'?". (direct quote)

    I'm willing to look past all of the atmosphere problems that I had for some damn-good tacos. If you serve great tacos, I don't care if they come off a cart or from behind a million-dollar kitchen. In spite of a few positive reviews in this thread, I have no reason to return to the thumping beats and specialty drinks of De Cero.

    De Cero boasts about homemade tortillas, but I have had fresher-tasting tortillas that were made in south side factories, boxed up, and trucked to Tony's. This was the sorest disappointment in my entire meal. Excellent tortillas may have reflected a more positive experience and prompted a return trip.

    The "Mexican corn mushroom" quesadillas (dare not print huitlacoche!) were downright horrible: salty and oily, with little flavor from the fungus. The two tamales that I tasted barely left an imprint in my memory as I covered them in a ton of salsa and crema just so they were moist enough to swallow.

    De Cero feels like a taqueria that was conceived by people who run a hip sushi bar--which is exactly what it is. The stock in trade in these restaurants is verve and booze. The food is the backdrop, almost irrelevant. I can almost hear them in their offices thinking, "tacos are the new sushi!". Put something new on the plate, surround it with some ethnically-appropriate mixed drinks, the right music, and you've got a hit.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #6 - September 26th, 2005, 3:47 pm
    Post #6 - September 26th, 2005, 3:47 pm Post #6 - September 26th, 2005, 3:47 pm
    eatchicago wrote:And I definitely have never been to one that plays thumping club music so loud that the date-night crowd had to yell to hear each other ask "What the heck is 'crema'?"

    :lol:

    A lot of non-food people seem to really love DeCero, because it's really more of a club, than a eatery.

    eatchicago wrote:De Cero boasts about homemade tortillas, but I have had fresher-tasting tortillas that were made in south side factories, boxed up, and trucked to Tony's. This was the sorest disappointment in my entire meal. Excellent tortillas may have reflected a more positive experience and prompted a return trip.


    Yea, the name itself, De Cero, would indicate that everything is made from scratch. But I think it's literal translation, from nothing...seems to ring true.

    I've eaten some tacos there in the bar--but I honestly don't remember what they tasted like. (which for me speaks volumes)

    trixie-pea
  • Post #7 - September 27th, 2005, 6:45 am
    Post #7 - September 27th, 2005, 6:45 am Post #7 - September 27th, 2005, 6:45 am
    eatchicago wrote:De Cero feels like a taqueria that was conceived by people who run a hip sushi bar--which is exactly what it is. The stock in trade in these restaurants is verve and booze. The food is the backdrop, almost irrelevant. I can almost hear them in their offices thinking, "tacos are the new sushi!". Put something new on the plate, surround it with some ethnically-appropriate mixed drinks, the right music, and you've got a hit.


    Michael:

    First off, I haven't been to this place. Second, I don't think I'll bother. Third, as problematic as the terms 'authenticity' and 'authentic' are, they are sometimes useful. And the sort of places you describe generally and of which De Cero (good point about the name, Trixie-pea) is an example, suffer for their lack of 'authenticity'. A passion for profit is not ever going to produce the results that a passion for cooking does.

    On the other hand, if De Cero works for some people as a club where they can drink and get a taco too, that's fine by me. For the time being, we in Chicago don't have to worry about a dearth of real, 'authentic' taquerias.

    And what the heck is 'crema', anyway? :twisted: :roll: :wink:

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #8 - May 2nd, 2006, 11:23 am
    Post #8 - May 2nd, 2006, 11:23 am Post #8 - May 2nd, 2006, 11:23 am
    Went to De Cero after work last week with some friends. I did like the concept of having a variety of tacos to choose from, and immediately had high expectations - despite some of the reviews. Started out with the perpetual chip basket and a margarita, along with 3 salsas. Chips tasted as if they were freshly made and were very good.... the salsas were just okay. The margarita was very good - refreshing and strong. The tacos, however, were less then desirable. The chorizo was completely bland and extremely greasy - the pastor was almost black in color and tasted like it had been sitting out for hours. The beef tips - just okay. The only thing I enjoyed were the shrimp tacos..... of course they were fried. I would only return to sit at the bar and have a margarita with some chips and salsa.

    RMTRAUT
  • Post #9 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:53 pm
    Post #9 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:53 pm Post #9 - May 2nd, 2006, 2:53 pm
    Crema is sour creme.
    I'm not Angry, I'm hungry.
  • Post #10 - May 2nd, 2006, 3:00 pm
    Post #10 - May 2nd, 2006, 3:00 pm Post #10 - May 2nd, 2006, 3:00 pm
    AngrySarah wrote:Crema is sour creme.


    AngrySarah,

    I'm guessing that you're referring to Antonius' quote:
    And what the heck is 'crema', anyway?


    This was made in jest in reference to my review of De Cero above. I can say with certainty that he knows what crema is. ;)

    To be a bit more precise, crema = sour cream is a bit of an oversimplification. Crema is a Mexican style cream, similar to sour cream, but with a lower viscosity and a slightly different flavor profile (I tend to find it saltier than sour cream).

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:14 pm
    Post #11 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:14 pm Post #11 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:14 pm
    rmtraut wrote: The tacos, however, were less then desirable. The chorizo was completely bland and extremely greasy - the pastor was almost black in color and tasted like it had been sitting out for hours. The beef tips - just okay. The only thing I enjoyed were the shrimp tacos..... of course they were fried. I would only return to sit at the bar and have a margarita with some chips and salsa.
    RMTRAUT


    i have to agree ...the tacos were less than desirable.. or maybe not even that they weren't good, but just lacked focus. (for those that haven't been: their specialty is serving up a gazillion different types of tacos... you might order 10 or so tacos and they bring 2 of this fish, 2 of that meat, 2 of that duck, etc...)... there were some good ones among the bunch, but this is definetly a "quantity over quality" place... I'll give them a few brownie points for trying to be unique, though.
  • Post #12 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:25 pm
    Post #12 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:25 pm Post #12 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:25 pm
    Wait, $4 a taco? Good lord.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #13 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:28 pm
    Post #13 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:28 pm Post #13 - May 2nd, 2006, 5:28 pm
    I haven't been in forever, but the last time I was there I had some pork tacos with chopped onions that were pretty darn tasty. Nothing else really sticks out in my mind.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #14 - June 9th, 2006, 1:16 pm
    Post #14 - June 9th, 2006, 1:16 pm Post #14 - June 9th, 2006, 1:16 pm
    After months of not eating out, perhaps 3 restaurant meals since New Year's, I finally had time to join Himself and two friends for dinner after work. De Cero ended up as the choice of friends, for a variety of reasons, the food not among them except extremely peripherally (ie, it will be passable). The upshot--Himself and I split a taco platter, that's 8 tacos for 28 dollars. We split each taco in half, and while none were offensive, there was not a single one that made me think "I wish I'd had that one all to myself."

    Friends each had a tamale and tacos. Tamales dry, one friend ordered pulled pork (?!?) and after mashing around in it looking for the pork, we finally all figured out that he had gotten the goat cheese tamale. Waiter accomodated by admitting he'd served the wrong tamales to them each, and with a little prompting agreed that he would bring a fresh goat cheese tamale rather than have one person eat a maimed tamale.

    Atmosphere was not bad until the club set came in, at which time we had people piled on top of us at the back bar, the lights were turned up high (?) and the music even higher.

    Total damages, for 8 tacos (bulk discount price of $3.50 each), chips, salsa, a small bowl of pretty unremarkable guac, 6 margaritas and one glass of jamaica (which was the best thing I ingested)--$150. You can bet I won't be back.

    The most amusing thing was the little note at the bottom of the menu asking that you warn in advance of "cilantro aversion."

    Too cute by half.
  • Post #15 - March 3rd, 2009, 5:24 pm
    Post #15 - March 3rd, 2009, 5:24 pm Post #15 - March 3rd, 2009, 5:24 pm
    Went to De Cero last night with some colleagues, here is a quick lowdown.

    Started with a pitcher of the house margaritas- very disappointing for they were sickeningly sweet. I still cannot believe how sweet they were. We ordered a second pitcher for I thought the first one had to be a mixology mistake. Nope, the second pitcher was consistently bad as the first.

    Chips/salsa/guacamole were next. The guacamole was good, the salsa acceptable and the chips not so great. The chips were greasier than normal and had an odd texture, as if the masa from which they were made had a finer texture than is typical.

    For my meal I had a taco al pastor (a standard by which I like to compare Mexican restaurants) and the three tamale combo. The taco was not good at all, for the pork was very dry and flavorless. Very disappointing.

    Fortunately, the tamales kept the meal from being a total zero. The pulled pork version was just average, but the corn version and the goat cheese version were very good.

    Given the other great Mexican restaurant choices that are out there, I am unlikely to return. Unfortunate, for given some of the buzz De Cero received in the past, it is a restaurant that I had been looking forward to trying out and liking.
  • Post #16 - March 4th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Post #16 - March 4th, 2009, 8:54 am Post #16 - March 4th, 2009, 8:54 am
    If you'd like to partake in some of the buzz from the past, try Mana on Division. That's where the chef that opened De Cero is doing her excellent work these days. Very much worth a try.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #17 - May 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm
    Post #17 - May 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm Post #17 - May 6th, 2011, 12:14 pm
    gleam wrote:Wait, $4 a taco? Good lord.


    In case you ever wondered what $8 of De Cero tacos look like:

    Image

    I think the quality of a taco is a good way to assess a Mexican restaurant, and these weren't at all bad. What we have here is "al pastor" in some inexplicable sauce and catfish, which was the better of the two.

    I would not, however, recommend De Cero -- pricing is way too high for food that is only okay.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #18 - May 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    Post #18 - May 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm Post #18 - May 6th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    gleam wrote:Wait, $4 a taco? Good lord.


    In case you ever wondered what $8 of De Cero tacos look like:

    I would not, however, recommend De Cero -- pricing is way too high for food that is only okay.



    What? I can't hear you. :wink:
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #19 - July 12th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    Post #19 - July 12th, 2011, 2:01 pm Post #19 - July 12th, 2011, 2:01 pm
    * service - non-existent - slow would be an improvement.
    * food - inedible carne molida & pork tacos
    * atmosphere - bare bulb prison house cafeteria
    Worst dining experience ever!!!! I dine out frequently and have been part owner of a successful restaurant nightclub, so I have deep understanding and compassion for the people in the industry. However, I have been lied to and given the run around over what could have been a simple resolution. On June 23rd, I came with a group of seven people. The waiter never visited our table after we ordered. after over an hour I telephoned the front of the restaurant to find out where our food was. I spoke to the manager and after 25 minutes more, the food finally arrived. AFTER the food arrived, the manager showed up to see how we were. We did tell her we were highly disappointed in the service. She sought to rectify the three hour nightmare by buying us 2 undesirable desserts. The carne molida and pork tacos were inedible. How can this place be in business? The next day I spoke with the General Manager who promised to make things right and check my credit card statement in a week. My credit never showed up. I just got off the phone with her and she said she CANNOT KEEP HER WORD. This is a really odd way to do business! I'm so old school I thought your word meant something. Any ideas?
  • Post #20 - July 12th, 2011, 2:17 pm
    Post #20 - July 12th, 2011, 2:17 pm Post #20 - July 12th, 2011, 2:17 pm
    HI,

    Why not call your credit card company about this charge advising them what happened and what was promised.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #21 - July 12th, 2011, 2:28 pm
    Post #21 - July 12th, 2011, 2:28 pm Post #21 - July 12th, 2011, 2:28 pm
    No suggestions for the customer, but my suggestion to the restaurant would be to do anything possible to prevent the customer who acted this way from wanting to return. Sounds like they're handling it well so far.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #22 - July 12th, 2011, 2:37 pm
    Post #22 - July 12th, 2011, 2:37 pm Post #22 - July 12th, 2011, 2:37 pm
    mary60614 wrote:after over an hour I telephoned the front of the restaurant to find out where our food was.


    Hilarious.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #23 - July 12th, 2011, 2:49 pm
    Post #23 - July 12th, 2011, 2:49 pm Post #23 - July 12th, 2011, 2:49 pm
    mary60614 wrote: I just got off the phone with her and she said she CANNOT KEEP HER WORD.


    YOU: So why wasn't my card credited?
    HER: Because I can't keep my word.
    YOU: You mean you lie?
    HER: Always.
    YOU: Are you lying now?
    HER: Yes.
    YOU: You mean you're lying about lying, so you're telling the truth.
    HER: No.
    YOU: Are you going to credit my card?
    HER: Yes.
    YOU: Does that mean No?
    HER: Yes.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #24 - July 12th, 2011, 3:39 pm
    Post #24 - July 12th, 2011, 3:39 pm Post #24 - July 12th, 2011, 3:39 pm
    Thanks to Hammond & Kennyz for making it worth my while to read this thread. :lol:
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #25 - July 13th, 2011, 11:55 am
    Post #25 - July 13th, 2011, 11:55 am Post #25 - July 13th, 2011, 11:55 am
    mary60614 wrote: I'm so old school


    "Old school" = phoning the front of the restaurant while IN the restaurant? In my book "old school" is walking up and actually talking to a person face to face - but then, I'm probably much *older*.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #26 - July 13th, 2011, 12:13 pm
    Post #26 - July 13th, 2011, 12:13 pm Post #26 - July 13th, 2011, 12:13 pm
    They clearly took a page out of the Abe Froman book of restaurant etiquette. I'd say Abe Froman is pretty old school.
  • Post #27 - January 2nd, 2018, 6:55 pm
    Post #27 - January 2nd, 2018, 6:55 pm Post #27 - January 2nd, 2018, 6:55 pm
    After 14 Years, De Cero Tacos Closes on Randolph

    https://chicago.eater.com/2018/1/2/1684 ... -west-loop
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin

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