Beyond the Burrito
When it comes to the flavors of our neighbors to the south, St. Louisans have moved well beyond Tex-Mex and chain taquerias. Meet four new concepts approaching the cuisine in fresh ways.
Fried tortillas stuffed with ground beef, tomato, lettuce and cheeseare a staple in Mexican-American-meets-Midwestern cuisine, and these crunchy crave-ables are exactly why cars are lining up at Fort Taco‘s drive-thru. Sauce-less enchiladas are its other main draw, but look for tamales and other goodies soon (8106 Manchester Road, 314.647.2391).
For a perfect example of Lücha‘s “Mexican soul food,” owner Hugo Perez suggests sampling the pozole, a rich pork and hominy stew. But as you work your way through the menu to find your own favorites, he also recommends the brisket, the pork belly taco and the two lamb tacos, each flavored with different chiles (522 N. Grand Blvd., 314.833.9993).
The “Mexico City-style” food concept has made Cantina Laredo successful from London to Las Vegas. The menu features grilled or braised meat with complex sauces. An example? The camarones escondidos: shrimp “hidden” inside a chicken breast that’s topped with sautéed spinach and chipotle-wine sauce (7710 Forsyth Blvd., 314.725.2447).
A wood-fired oven is the main method of cooking at Público. Simple, yes, but owner Mike Randolph proved he knows high-end Mexican a while back with Medianoche. His newly opened tavern-style eatery has a crudo menu, snacks, flatbreads, tacos and, making good use of the fire, plenty of grilled meats (6679 Delmar Blvd., The Loop).
Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg