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The Early Word on Monica's Nueva Cocina

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Photo credit: CraveDFW

Monica Greene is a Dallas legend. She trailblazed the way for the city's modern Mexican movement with her old Oak Lawn spot Ciudad, brought loyal Tex-Mex lovers to Deep Ellum's Aca y Alla, and introduced a novel build-your-own enchiladas concept to Oak Cliff with BEE. Now, she's shuttered Aca y Alla to focus on her new restaurant at the Ilume development on Cedar Springs, and it looks like the neighborhood is thrilled to have her back: Monica's Nueva Cocina is hopping. So what exactly are people saying about Greene's newest venture thus far?

The Very Promising Critical News: Leslie Brenner hasn't filed an official review yet (and won't for some time) but she did give Monica's a nod in the Dallas Morning News's recent "Best in DFW: Mexican and Tex-Mex" feature, stating that Chef Hector Hernandez's cooking "pushes the Mexican flavors Texans love into fresh, new territory". She specifically notes a "profoundly flavorful" duo of lamb with an "outstanding mole negro" and ends by saying "I can't wait to return." [DMN]

The Annoying Policies News: One Yelper has major beef with some of Monica's rules: "No split checks - this is tough especially in the gayborhood - no one wants to foot the bill for a group of 12 and who has cash? Second, is they advertise no substitutions - this is just bad for business." [Yelp]

The Split Personality News: The space is divided into ME Lounge, serving an array of globally influenced dishes, and Nueva Cocina, which serves high-end Mexican food for dinner only. As blogger Feed Me Dallas says, "Walk in and find yourself in the trendy sushi bar lounge, take a few more steps and the space is instantly transformed into a up-scale mexican restaurant." But at least one Yelper is less than enthused about the split concept, saying "the multiple dining areas and separate menus is confusing and seems unnecessary." [Feed Me Dallas/Yelp]

The Amazing Mexican Lasagna News: Of Monica's Mexican lasagna, Pegasus News writes, " If you haven't had Monica's lasagna yet, you are missing out. This dish consists of layers and layers of corn tortillas, roasted chicken, cheese, black beans, and corn all topped off with a dollop of salsa verde. The lunch portion is perfect and the flavors are amazing." [Pegasus News]

The Tasty Tongue News: An Urbanspoon reviewer declares the beef tongue worth trying, even for newbies: "Pork Belly and Lingua Tacos: no, not together, but two separate divine tasty tacos on house corn tortillas that are not gritty or coarse or bland. And if [you] have always feared Lingua (seared cow tongue) this has to be about the only place in the world you should try it." [Urbanspoon]

The Typical Parking News: A Yelp reviewer notes, "Parking sucks though, and your only other choice is the other dirty word: valet." [Yelp]

The Friendly Owner News: As an OpenTable diner points out, "Monica thanked us personally for bringing in our smiles. Who does that? Her timing was perfect, right after we had a couple sips of our drinks she arrived. They nailed it." [OpenTable]

The Globe-trotting Menu News: Besides Monica's signature Mexican dishes, there's also sushi and an array of more international selections at the attached ME Lounge, as detailed by blog Rundown: "... galbi tacos made with Korean short rib, kimchi and salsa roja; wok fried rice; and Mexican pozole mixed with ramen noodles." [Rundown]

The This is Not Tex Mex News: A Facebooker comments: "I enjoyed the great cheese enchilada's at Aca y Ala. I didn't see that on the menu." Another replies: "my server was very clear. This one is MEXICAN and NOT Tex Mex." [Facebook]

Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge

4123 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, TX 75219 214 219 1639 Visit Website

Monica's Nueva Cocina

4123 Cedar Springs, Suite 102, Dallas