When Cuchara opens at the corner of Taft and Fairview this summer, don't expect more of the same Tex-Mex.
Cuchara, which means spoon in Spanish, will specialize in the traditional cuisine of Mexico City, according to co-owner and proprietor Ana Beaven.
"Everything has to travel to Mexico City, so we have a little bit of everything, from Jalisco, Michoacan," Beaven tells CultureMap. "But we are really focusing on Mexico City specialties.
"It's not going to be Mexican as we know it," Beaven says. "It's more of a neighborhood bar."
That means no yellow cheese, no queso, no tortilla chips and salsa. Instead Beaven will have things like chicharrones (crispy fried pig skin) as bar snacks. Dishes will include indigenous favorites like huazontle, an herb often described as Mexican broccoli, which Beaven mixes with butter, cheese and different sauces and fries.
Breakfast and brunch will feature dishes with egg and chorizo as well as buñuelos, or Mexican fritters served with brown sugar, cinnamon and guava syrup, plus a special version of café au lait served in D.F. that is mixed table side from two pitchers, one with hot coffee and one with boiling milk.
The space is being designed by Jim Herd of Collaborative Projects, who also designed Underbelly and Hay Merchant. Beaven describes it as modern mixed with traditional touches including wood-hewn furniture and custom murals on the walls by Beaven's sister Cecilia, a well-known artist in Mexico.
The central focus of the space will be the large bar, which Beaven says is the first thing passersby will notice from any direction. She's currently experimenting with different flavors of margaritas, using indigenous fruits like pink grapefruit and mamey.
"It's not going to be Mexican as we know it," says Beaven, referring to restaurants adorned with papel picado. "It's more of a neighborhood bar. I live two blocks from here, and I think it's the kind of place people will want to come hang out."
Cuchara is scheduled to open in July at 214 Fairview.