FDC #44: Jefe: Urban Hacienda

I don’t remember how we picked Jefe (“Chief” or “Boss” en español), but it’s gotten some buzz, and I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with Mexican food, so went there we did for FDC #44. Wow, that’s almost four years of fancy dinner(club)s! Which is longer than I’ve committed to basically anything (especially my marriage (but don’t tell my wife! (am I right fellas?!))) Anyway, I had looked at their menu beforehand and was super excited–everything looked, as Mary Berry would say, positively scrummy. I took my seat at our table, and since it was a balmy 38-degree Spring evening in fair Minneapolis (we’re nothing if not timely here at FDC), I ordered their mulled cider. It came out hot, it tasted amazing, off too a rollicking start, Chief.

As for the food, we were clearly always gonna order the elotes, obviously.

And after throwing out some other suggestions, trying to balance starters, entrees, and how many of their eight taco varieties was too many tacos, Chris(?) said, “Should we just get all the tacos?” Along with wanting that on my tombstone, that sounded like a fantastic idea. But looking at the rest of the menu, we couldn’t pass up the Tijuana Pork especiale, so: “OK, we won’t get the fish taco. And I mean, a carnitas taco is a carnitas taco…” And the cauliflower pastor sounded crazy, so: “Fine, we won’t get chicken tinga or oxtail tacos either.” Then Matt correctly pointed out, “So  wait, we just went from all the tacos to four tacos?” Yes Matt, unfortunately we did. It was almost just three tacos, but over Matt’s stern objections, we threw in the wild mushroom taco at the last second (and he was glad we did, for the record).

In all we ordered: two orders of elotes, cream cheese stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon (“jalapeños with tocino”), oxtail quesadilla, mushroom tacos, ropa vieja tacos, ostras con tocino tacos, camarones tacos, duck tamale, cauliflower pastor, and Tijuana pork. If that sounds like a lot of food, it was:

Not quite the spread that we had at Revival (FDC #21), but still probably too much food.

Here’s the thing, though — and big knocks against Chief for this one — they didn’t course it out for us–which I suppose isn’t a requirement, but c’mon! Do us a solid, Mike! Or Brian? Anthony? Fuck it, I’m just calling our server Boss. As you can see from above, all that food arrived at once — major party foul on Boss. But taste is what’s most important, right? Outstanding food will forgive a lot, no? So how did it taste? Well…

Westartedwiththeeloteswhichwassogoodbecauseofcourseitwassobetweenthemulledcidercocktailandtheelotesthemealwasofftoagreatstartbutthenwewenttothetacosbeforetheygotcoldbutjokesonustheywerealreadycoldbecausetheywereprobablydonefirstandjustsittingontheexpeditestationwaitingfortherestofthefoodmeanwhileasecondcocktailcameformewhichihadhopedtoenjoywithmyfoodbutiwassostressedabouteatingeverythingwhileatleastmostdisheswerestillhotthatibarelytouchedthecocktailuntiliwasfinishedeatingbutoktheoxtailquesadillawasthesecondbestitemaftertheelotesfollowedbythecamaronestacosthenthemushroomtacosilikedthetijuanaporkwellenoughandthecauliflowerwasgoodandcookedwellbutimnotreallysurethepastorspicesworkedwithitandthebaconwrappedjalapenosweregoodbutexactlywhatyoudexpectwhilethebaconandoysterandropaviejatacoswerejustokandtheducktamalewashonestlybadenoughthatmattsaidhelikedthefrozentamalesfromtraderjoesbetterandicantargue.

Got all that?

Oh, we also started with chips and salsa and guac (in a simpler time). The guac was solid, and the three salsas were good, albeit their “salsa diabla” is, shall we say, “Minnesota diabla.” We ended with a dessert of caramelized plantains and salted caramel ice cream which was muy bueno.

In all, we left with that feeling of trying to name a favorite episode of a TV series completely binged in a weekend: “Um… I know I liked some things about some of the things…?” We felt rushed and uncomfortably full at the end, and while I definitely ate some great things, I just… can’t remember which ones.

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