Topolobampo continues to generate positive buzz for its Mexican offerings delivered under the direction of sous chef Mark Segura and Topolobampo proprietor Rick Bayless, and that's because the menu delivers fresh food in a fun dining area. Bayless is known for supporting local farmers and for serving seasonal sustainably raised vegetables, meat and poultry, but he's not afraid to have a little fun, too. The restaurant has a festive feel, with many highly colorful murals and figurines peppered throughout the building. Peppy music plays overhead, amidst many low-hanging lights.
Menu items range from $8 for a Caesar salad dressed up with lime dressing to $41.50 for a big seafood platter with a dozen oysters and accompaniments (the average dinner entree is about $24). Chicharron de queso, available during lunch for $14, was refreshingly original and tasty; a thin, rolled crispy cheese wafer was wrapped around salad greens coated in a lime-cilantro dressing, next to which sat a small grilled chicken salad with roasted poblanos and avocado. It's too bad there wasn't more of the chicken, though, because it was scrumptious.
Other menu items include ensalada de pato y mango, or a smoked duck salad with mangos, a chipotle-black olive dressing and cheese; puerco en mole negro (grill-roasted pork loin with black mole); and chilaquiles de guajillo y frijol negro, shiitake-filled chilaquiles simmered with a black bean sauce. Margaritas are extremely tartómaybe too tart. Otherwise, though, count on a good and inventive Mexican meal.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Mary Susan Littlepage