Carnitas
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Carnitas

Gastro Cantina Deep Ellum

queso fundido
Lauren Drewes Daniels
With this space, four-time James Beard best chef nominee Gino Rojas wants to redefine what Americans think of when they hear the word “cantina." It's a place to get a strong drink (the tequila selection is on point) and a stellar meal. Here the menu selection goes far beyond tacos. High-end dishes are both inventive and authentic and may likely change your perceptions of Mexican food in Texas. Take, for example, the delicate cabrito wontons topped with small purple flowers and served on a salsa roja reduction.

There are some traditional appetizers, like guacamole served with house-made totopos (chips) and queso fundido with fresh corn tortillas. But the menu also has elements of Rojas’ love of Japanese food, like a grilled bone-in Japanese hamachi kama (yellow tail collar) with citrus pineapple pico de gallo, salsa and tortillas.

Chilitos rellenos de cochinita come with three Caribbean chiles stuffed with Yucatan-style cochinita on a bed of black bean puree. Michoacan style enchiladas are stuffed with quail guisado. There’s also a full menu of tacos: carne asada, trompo al pastor, carnitas, pato (duck), lengua (A Bar N Ranch wagyu), red trout, squash and pulpo (octopus).

The gastro cantina has spins on classic cocktails too, like an Oaxaqueno Old Fashioned made with tequila joven and mezcal. The Mexican Manhattan has a reposado tequila, Ancho Reyes chile liquor and mole bitters (yes, mole bitters). Or have a shot of El Tequileno Reposado Rare.

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