To hear the owners of La Ciudad tell the tale, growing up on the streets of Mexico City was pretty rough. It's not exactly that things were too dangerous to stop and eat for any given amount of time, but the two did do a lot of eating on the run. Other Mexico City natives will tell you that their upbringing is definitely reflected in the menu.
La Ciudad features a good amount of what could be referred to as 'finger foods.' It becomes apparent first in the appetizers, where 'tacos de canasta' - steamed, bite-sized mini tacos can be popped into your mouth for under a buck. Continuing on through the menu, one finds a legion of other hand-held foodstuffs, such as tacos (full-sized this time), tortas, and a Mexico City inspired cheeseburger in the "Chilango burger," with ham, cheese and a sliced frankfurter on top for $8.
Just because the food is - literally - lightweight, is no reason not to take La Ciudad seriously. The size and temperature of the camarones el diablo ($14) practically commands your attention. Likewise, the classic dish, the tampiquena, with a juicy, perfectly cooked skirt steak and an enchilada, generously cheesy yet free from grease, is a serious and seriously tasty dish for $16.
La Ciudad is a welcome addition to Uptown, taking over a space in a Sheridan strip mall. The bright and attractive space, decorated with black-and-white photographs of Mexico City street life, perfectly reflects the flavor that La Ciudad is going for, both in spirit and in its meals.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman