Cafe Society

Cilantro Fusion is new to downtown, but it's serving Juan's old green chile

For nearly a dozen years, the space at 1531 Stout Street was home to Juan's on Stout, a Mexican joint that was allegedly renowned for its green chile. Juan's is gone, but the space has now been resurrected as Cilantro Fusion, and the green chile, a thick, gelatinous blob that forms stiff peaks when you take a spoon to it, is still on the menu "as a tribute to the former Juan's."

And it's been a hot seller since Cilantro Fusion officially opened for business on Monday, September 14, says owner Gabriela Bossy, who was born in Mexico City. "People begged us to put it on our menu," she explains, adding that her kitchen crew got step-by-step instructions on how to make that green chile from Juan's former staff.

For the record, I'm a long way from jumping on Juan's green chile bandwagon, but there's much more to Bossy's menu than Juan's leftovers, including tortas, Oaxacan huevos rancheros, pozole, chilaquiles with chicken, mole enchiladas, albondigas and shrimp cocktail. Oh...and the required alcoholic components, like fresh fruit margaritas, mojitos and martinis.

And the two-tiered space, flanked with hardwoods and tile, rock, wrought iron and leather, arches and angles, is gorgeous. "It was really important to me to make this a pretty space, and while it started out as a small project, all the different possibilities kept making it a larger project," Bossy confesses.

Right now, service is a little clunky and disorganized, and Bossy is still sorting out the cash register and credit-card machine, both of which have been temperamental all week. "We've been so busy and I know we've got some things to work on, but all we really want to do is make our customers happy and make sure they come back," she says.

Cilantro Fusion's hours are daily from 6:30 a.m.; for more information, call 303-621-6808.