Topolobampo & Frontera Grill
An inventive Mexican restaurant owned by celebrity chef Rick Bayless and his wife, Deann, Frontera Grill was a hot spot even before it won the 2007 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant in the United States. It takes very limited reservations and tends to be packed. Opt for its adjoining, sister restaurant, Topolobampo, which shares Frontera’s kitchen. Reservations are accepted there, and the atmosphere is a touch more refined though still funky, with walls covered in museum-quality Mexican artwork in eye-popping colors. The menu, which changes every four weeks, features such dishes as chayote salad with Oaxacan chiles and enchiladas with black truffles, roasted organic vegetables and huitlachoche. Always available is an impressive selection of seviches (such as lime-marinated Hawaiian blue marlin with jicama) and the Sopa Azteca, a heavenly chicken soup with pasilla chiles, avocado and grilled chicken. Bayless is a strong proponent of organic and sustainably raised ingredients and Mexican regional specialties, and the gracious, informed waitstaff is happy to talk about the meticulous sourcing that goes into different dishes. You can learn how the frothy hot cocoa on the dessert menu uses dark-roasted chocolate made by hand by a family in Oaxaca—or you can just lean back and savor the rich, spicy, sublime flavors with a sigh. Closed Sunday and Monday.
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