What is it about the Duro Hospitality Group and its designs? Earlier this year, we raved over the maximalist beauty of Cafe Duro on Greenville Ave. Now, our heads are turned by El Carlos Elegante, the group’s new restaurant in the Design District next to the Charles, another of its properties.
In a moment, we’ll get into the food, which adventures beyond standard Mexican fare. Let us start with the gorgeous, unexpected interiors that successfully mix an array of materials, design elements, and styles.
The idea of capturing a vibe has become the group’s MO for all its restaurants and bars, including Sister, which the New York Times put on its list of America’s best restaurants in 2022. With El Carlos Elegante, the idea was to capture the spirit of Latin culture in the food and the decor.
“Our vision for this project was similar to Sister in some regards. We wanted it to feel multigenerational and cozy,” Corbin See, Duro Hospitality and Sees Design partner, said in a press release. “The space has a residential feel, and we aimed for the pieces to feel collected and added over time. The dishes, for example, aren’t all matching.”
Corbin and Ross See of See Design said their inspiration was that of a Mexican hacienda, a home passed down through generations that shows today’s tastes while feeling as if it has a history. The furniture is mainly mid-century and almost entirely sourced from Mexico, with family portraits hanging on the walls and front and back courtyards for indoor and outdoor dining.
“This project was a complete redesign,” Ross See said in a press release. “We started with the four exterior walls and began work on everything from adding the front and back courtyards, fireplaces, and fountains.”
However, the menu doesn’t strictly stick to Mexico — the Duro Group calls El Carlos Elegante’s food more Mexican-inspired, mirroring Sister’s Mediterranian-inspired approach to cooking. It features Argentinian-style meats and fish, house-made tortillas, mesa, moles — hummus and osso buco dishes also make the menu, blurring the culinary lines.
At the bar, a Mezcal program takes the spotlight. Mezcal has had difficulty breaking the tequila spell over diners at many a Dallas restaurant, making this a big swing for the El Carlos Elegante team. A wine and champagne list will also be available for those who prefer to continue playing it safe with their drinks.
Find El Carlos Elegante at 1400 N Riverfront Blvd., open Sunday to Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.