Cross the hipness of Sushi Wabi
(same owners) with the taqueria stylings of Taco Burrito King
, add a dash of Rick Bayless-like imagination, and you've got De Cero (which loosely translated means "from scratch").
A constant perfume of griddled corn masa from the homemade tortillas wafts through the brightly colored industrial space. Replete with rustic touches like unfinished pine seats and stoneware plates, and pulsing with beats and lighting, De Cero has a Zen Latino clubby feel.
You can forget about burritos as big as your head and chewy skirt steak. The pre-reveling shiny shirt crowd and West Loop regulars scarf down dainty haute tacos filled with seared ahi tuna with mango habanero salsa or battered catfish with Mexican slaw and chipotle mayo ($3-$4.50). There's no neon green pickled jalapenos on the nachos, just tender shreds of duck confit and zingy pico de gallo. The real bargain is the house taco combination plate, which gives you a choice of eight tacos accompanied by three house salsas, a tangy pureed tomatillo jalapeno, basic red salsa cruda and diced smoky chipotle tomato for $28.
Strawberry mint margaritas and peach and chamomile colada's made with fresh juices and infusions are refreshing and worth the $9 splurge.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant