Frontera Grill Revisited...

February 26 2005 - 11:42 AM

Frontera Grill on Clark and Grand is a favorite of mine. We went back 2/25 Friday night… actually evening 5:30.

The Primrosa Margarita was the addition to the typical Topolos that are pretty tasty. It was tart but still reasonably sweet and fun with a red sugared rim.
Appetizers at Frontera are still the best. Rick Bayless’ sopes are hands down the best corn-meal product on the planet. And anytime you can get a single app with multiple tastes you do it… right?
So this time we went with the 3 pronged ceviche.

Momentary digression – when the last election results came through I ended up moving to Mexico, a small town north of Puerto Vallarta – Bucerias… where I sat in inflatable water slide a hammock, drank Pacificos and kept trying to order ceviches… I really enjoy whitefish ceviche. My father always liked pickled herring… never quite got that.

The 3 ceviches included a limey cilantro hallibut ceviche my favorite. Where the citric tang complemented the meaty hallibut.

Stacy picked a different one with dungeoness, calamari, avocado and shrimp. She enjoyed the tanginess. I thought the flavor was flat and wanted to taste individual ingredients more.

The third was a more conventional sweet shrimp cocktail style. Though topped with wisps of red onions, a nice touch and taste, it reminded me of something I’ve had before.

Entrees were Duck breast with black mole and pork in a peanut pepper sauce.

The duck was better. A key reason I like Frontera so much was the molé I made out of his cookbook was so good. It did take me forever but I enjoyed it tremendously. Anytime a chef shares recipes that good he gets points. This molé was darker but had the same apricots and raisin/date compote component. It could have been hotter but was wonderfully complex with a taste that developed as you kept eating it. The white bean mash on the side was very interesting. Stacy loved it but I thought the garlic flavor did not go with the molé and would have preferred fresh cilantro and other seasonings. The jicama salsa went no farther than diced jicama mingled in with the sauce.

The pork was served on a soft thick corn tortilla 1/2 moon that was lost under the sauce as its shape was nearly the same as the pork medallions. The sauce was a sticky rojo sauce with an oily peanut flavor. It was very rich and before noticing the tortilla I had taken to rolling it in the hot corn tortillas from the warmer. As we noticed the tortilla the dish made more sense. The pork, tortilla and sauce together made the strength of the sauce more reasonable. I also at the outset, having mistook the tortilla for more pork from the other end of the table, assumed that the sheer volume of pork was a mistake. It was mine.

Dessert coffees with orange zest and brown sugar with the grape sorbet / fruit soup (no chocolate… yeah, yeah.) were a sweet and light end to a dinner that we would order differently next time:
Drinks, 2 appetizers, 1 entree, and dessert.

Note. You used to be able to order off of the Topolobampo menu from the Frontera dining area. Apparantly you can only do that from the bar now. Also we were initially seated in the basement inflatable obstacle course area (lower level- Basement). We would have been the only people in a small space that would quickly grow noisy and more claustophobic as it filled up, especially with the low ceilings.

Frontera is as always HIGHly recommended.