Monterrey an Oasis of Urban Cool
Soul food connotes hominess and comfort. But it can be presented with a more formally elegant approach. Such is the case with Monterrey (551 W. Becher St.).
Chef-owner Dion Jefferson, known for his previous eatery, Something Smells Good, has established an oasis of urban cool on the near South Side. Fusion jazz wafts throughout, and it still smells really good. The steamed, non-fatty way collard greens are served here gives Monterrey a high mark.
The Monterrey Burger, perhaps so named at least in part for the slice of jack cheese on its thick patty, is still impressive. In a recent daily gumbo special, pieces of firm Andouille sausage and tender chicken fight for taste buds’ attention amid mildly spiced broth.
That isn’t where Jefferson’s appreciation for Cajun eating ends, either, as jambalaya over pasta numbers among Monterrey’s array of entrées.
Desserts also maintain Monterrey’s Southernness. The infusion of maple in a bounteous chunk of corn bread pudding ended my meal on a soulfully warm, comfortingly sweet note.