Dined on June 17th.
While attending the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, we were looking for a dinner place and found JEFE with the help of Yelp. It is located on St Anthony Main and is a little more than a month old. The restaurant was launched by the same people that own Aster Cafe, which is just down the street. JEFE Urban Hacienda is described as a comfortable hang out where you are cared for in vintage Spanish style. Lovingly built cocktails, Mexican tap beer, grotto-cooled wines, fresh Mexican street food, and sweet ambiance all await you.
First Impressions: JEFE is located right next to Tuggs Tavern. It has both indoor and outdoor seating. At first glance, the darkness inside the restaurant is what you notice, but if you look closely, you quickly appreciate the uniqueness of the space and the interesting and cool Spanish decor.
Our first dish from the Mexican Street Food section of the menu was the Tostones ($7), which included twice fried plantains, pico de gallo, cotija (cheese), chipotle crema, and a lime wedge. This was a great starter that did not disappoint. The fried plantains mixed with the Mexican cheese and dipped in the chipotle sauce made the bites flavorful and spicy. A great change from the usual nachos.
Because, I rarely pass up an opportunity to order seafood, I got the Camarones ($10), their take on shrimp tacos. All of their tacos include 2 tacos with house made fresh corn masa tortillas. Sarah and I both loved the tortillas. It brought back some memories from our first trip to Mexico, where we first tasted hand made style tortillas. Along with sauteed shrimp, the tacos had pickled pineapples, jalapenos, cilantro crema, peppers, cotija, and avocado. As you can see, there was definitely a lot going on inside the taco, a combination of both sweetness and spice. I was skeptical at first, but all of the ingredients worked well together, which made this taco a great hit for me.
Sarah ordered the Carnitas ($8) tacos. They reminded her of a Carnitas crock pot recipe we make at home, which meant they were not anything restaurant worthy. They did not have all that much flavor, as there was not much on besides the meat and tortilla, topped with just cilantro and onions (onions not ordered, so maybe that is the flavor that was missing?) Thankfully, the Tostones filled us up and were so delicious that the lack luster tacos were not a disappointment.
Verdict: The staff was above and beyond helpful in accommodating seating requests, assisting in choosing menu items, refilling water glasses and directing patrons to the restrooms. I definitely would like to go back for a second visit as there other dishes on the menu that I have my eye on.
219 Main Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
4PM – Close