Southwest Detroit is known for it's Mexican food, but if you go a little north into East Dearborn there is a small cantina serving up some big flavors. It's called M Cantina, and they are dishing up a new take on Mexican street food.
"It's nuevo latino," says chef and operator Junior Merino." We take ingredients from anywhere in Latin America and we present them in a new style of presentation."
Junior Merino hails from Pueblo, Mexico and New York City and the food here reflects what he had growing up.
"The food had to be fresh. I grew up making cheeses, making everything from scratch, and that is exactly what we are bringing here, is making everything in house, all of our salads, desserts, ingredients, and only sourcing the best ingredients around," says Merino.
Besides making the food taste amazing, he makes look amazing as well. Presentation is very important to him and you can see it in everything from their carpaccio salad that looks like a painting, to their smoke filled drink that is served out of a coconut.
"The first impact is the visual, that's the most important," Merino explains. "Aroma is also extremely important.... so as soon as we cook the food we send it out because we don't want it to get cold and then you're not getting any of the aroma, because that is really the flavor."
He uses a fusion of techniques from around the world to get the best flavor out of his ingredients. An example of this can be seen in his Duck Carnitas tacos. The duck is cooked in a French style (confit), but with Mexicans spices and is topped with their guava chipotle BBQ sauce, chili oil, crispy onions and baby radish greens.
Dishes range in price from $5 dollars for their smaller tapas like the plantains to $13 for three Duck Carnitas tacos. They also serve their food with a tray full of salsas to top them with.
If you are interested in trying M Cantina they are located at 13214 Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. For more information visit their Facebook page here.
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