Sooo - The dinner was last night. I posted in another thread that I was a little disappointed that by the democratic process I used in letting the other 8 ppl choose the dinner spot, that sdm was the vote. (I only gave them a choice of Thai or Mexican. Thai would've been Tac. I kinda wanted to try some new things over there, but anyway -)
I could not have been more wrong about thinking TAC would have been better. SDM came through BIG TIME for us.
BTW - THEY HAVE A LIQUOR LICENSE NOW!!
The menu ended up like this:
Appetizer samplers for 9. Traffic was not the best all over town, and a few were running late. I told a member of the group that if they saw an app that looked good, just go ahead and get it. The app sampler was a little on the fried side (taquitos, cheese in fried breading, etc) but the ceviche was pretty darn good. Entire table commented on how it stood out as very good.
I spoke to Carlos several times over the past few weeks to set up a menu for everyone in the party to try this place's stuff. Kind of like a family style tapas kind of thing. He totally nailed it. Totally.
Ostrich w/ mashed potatoes and tortillas.
Wow. I read upthread that the ostrich was not tender. It is not a fatty bird, so when overcooked it is not the best stuff. Ours was done absolutely perfectly. The entire table was absolutely gushing about this stuff. Perfectly med rare, it had the texture of a cross between a nice med rare sirloin, and a medium rare filet, with the flavor of filet. Some were hesitant with their first taste of ostrich, but all were completely thrilled after their first bite. The mashed potatoes were also a highlight - with the flavor of garlic and some kind of tangy cheese. If I went back tonight, I'd get a whole plate of ostrich for myself, and not share. Fantastic.
Mahi Mahi w/ rice with tortillas.
I've had fresher mahi mahi, but I will not complain. I think my quibble might really be stemming from the fact that this came after the damn near perfect ostrich presentation. This was served Mojo de Ajo style. Sauce was very light with plenty of caramelized onion, with bits of avocado. The rice was cooked with broth, olive oil, butter, and wine. It was QUITE flavorful. The fish was good, but the sauce and the rice was better. On a scale of 1-10, the fish would have gotten a 5, and the rest of the presentation was a 9 bringing the average up to a 7. Throw in the homemade tortillas to pinch up bits of onions/avocado in that sauce, and as a whole, it was an 8.5. Not BAD at all, and actually quite good, but the fish was just average.
Tampiquena - family style.
The skirt steak was ON!!!!
We had a few platters of the skirt steak, a platter of chicken enchiladas, beans, and plantains. The enchiladas were OK, suffering from the "white meat only" chicken choice. The beans were remarked on multiple times as being excellent, but the skirt steak was ON!!!.
Tres Leches. I asked Carlos if he could make a tres leches for us, and he repeated over and over again - My God, we are going to make you the best tres leches in the world. No-really, you don't even know how good this cake is gonna be!" I'm no expert, but I thought I did not like tres leches...until last night. His version was single layer, about 4.5 inches tall. It looked absolutely dry, but was SOAKED! All of the groaning about being too full for desert from everyone at the table was replaced with refrains of, "holy SH*T, is this good" followed by a few surprisingly clean plates, and a request for a few clamshells to take the few bites left home. SDM kicked our asses last night. My Hat's off to Carlos, La Dona Bahena, and the staff that had to clean up all of those btls of wine and beer bottles we left behind. A GREAT dinner from a GNR.
Stealing a line from that thread on Katsu, I am SDM's B*tch.
BTW - Food and Wine rag is giving SDM some love in some article about "Where to go next in Chicago"
BTW2 - we brought a cooler full of beer, and wines, and they let the beers slide, and I believe corkage was 4.50. They got the license last Saturday, and are giving a little bit of a grace period. We saw others walking in with 12 packs.
Again, I repeat,
THEY HAVE A LIQUOR LICENSE NOW!