Right on schedule, the first big fall opening of the season has arrived, with La Urbana softly open on Divisadero as of this weekend (and set to have its grand opening tomorrow night). Owned by Eduardo Rallo (Colibri Mexican Bistro) and Mexican architect Juan Garduño, the 60-seat dining room and 20-seat bar is a real looker, with an urban-rustic vibe displaying old-fashioned carved wood tables, imported Mexican tiles, and handmade pottery. An LED-lit external mural definitely says that this is no longer Plant It Earth.
Executive chef Benjamin Klein and chef de cuisine Julio Aguilera are behind the innovative Mexican menu, which features starters like guacamole with rice cracker "chicharrones," scallop cocktail, clam menudo, duck huaraches, and a quesadilla with goat cheddar and vegetables. Entrees range from roast chicken with guajillo chile butter to braised short ribs with seared bone marrow and tomatillo to a "tierra y mar" surf-and-turf of rib-eye and Dungeness crab with pineapple puree. Dessert options include tres leches cake and a Oaxacan chocolate cremeux, and $1 from every dessert purchase is donated to La Cocina. Here's the full menu, and the dessert menu.
On the drinks side, La Urbana is planning to be SF's largest purveyor of mezcal, with 40-50 bottles. Lucas Ranzuglia is behind the cocktails, which emphasize mezcal and creative takes on margaritas. The signature La Urbana margarita is available with three kinds of salt, including bacon salt, while other variants include a purple version with creme de violette and a mezcal julep with a seasonal cordial. Other cocktails incorporate molecular techniques, from chile-water capsules to raspberry habañero foam, and there's also a take on a scorpion bowl for groups. Here's the full cocktail menu.
This iteration of La Urbana is actually the first in a planned three projects. Expected later this year are Mercado Urbano, a casual taqueria that will serve as the restaurant's lounge in the evening, and Mezcaleria Urbana, a mezcal bar that will offer tasting flights and cocktails (it's currently serving as the space's private dining room while they prep Mercado Urbano for opening). As if that wasn't enough, a roof deck will eventually be added to the lineup as well. For now, though, La Urbana is open only in the evenings, from 5 pm-1 am daily.