Cantina Loredo: Go Uptown For Mexican

V51A0477Written by Jan Walsh, Photography by Beau Gustafson

The Place 

Uptown’s Cantina Laredo is one of Consolidated Restaurant Companies, Inc.’s Mexican restaurants, the company’s fastest growing corporate and franchise concept. Located at 2301-B Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd., the restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. The chic atmosphere is modern and open. There is a large dining area dotted with tables and with spacious booths. Upstairs is another dining room that is well-suited for private events. The hours are 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.


Favorite Fare

Birmingham’s Cantina Laredo offers a lunch, dinner, brunch, and bar menus. I haven’t tried the brunch yet, but I have now been here twice—once for their private opening event and today’s lunch. And I found the bar fare of aperitivos, sopas y ensaladas, and the taqueria to be the tastiest dishes, as well as a succulent bacon-wrapped shrimp, which was the favorite at the private event that I do not see on the lunch menu.

I’m lunching today with Richard Phillips, and we enjoy a 3 Amigos Margarita and White Honey Sangria. The 3 Amigos is three drinks in one. The margarita with fresh lime juice and Cointreau Orange Liqueur arrives with a “sidecar” (shot) of Hornitos Plata and a baby bottle of Coronita, upside down in the glass. I do not quite know how to handle it. I am thinking that I should pour the beer into the drink, but actually all I need to do is sip, and this little drink machine replenishes itself with beer. Richard figured this out for me. I also was not planning to do shooters for lunch, so I added the Hornitos Plata to the mix. This cocktail is fun and delicious.

V51A0439The White Honey Sangria arrives in a tall glass, on the rocks with fresh lemon wedges. This concoction of Ecco Domani Moscato, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, fresh lemon and lime juices, and fresh-squeezed orange is slightly sweet and very refreshing.

The best thing in the house is, hands down, the top shelf guacamole. I would come here just for it. It is handmade per order at your table and serves two to four people. The table has a bowl with a fresh avocado and a fresh lime, which the server uses to make our large bowl of guacamole with any or all of the ingredients on her cart. We opt for all. The chunky guacamole is filled with chunks of tomato, peppers, and onion.

There are tacos for all appetites, from land to sea. Tacos de fajita is filled with tender beef, queso fresco, and avocado, with a sour cream drizzle that adds creaminess. Tacos de barbacoa is made of slow-roasted brisket, spicy marinated onions, Monterey Jack, and cilantro. For those who prefer a lighter dish, Ttcos de pollo is a fajita filled with juicy chicken, fresh avocado, spicy pico de gallo, and creamy queso fresco, and drizzled with poblano. And the Ahi tuna tacos are crisp bites of sushi-cut Ahi tuna, with chipotle aioli, a delicious and crunchy jicama slaw, and the guacamole we love.

Sweet tooth or not, the mango tres leches calms the palate after a hot Mexican meal. This wedge of creamy vanilla cake is topped and filled with an exotic mango cream sauce and adorned with fresh blueberries and a sliced strawberry.

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