A new project from Minneapolis restaurateur Hector Ruiz offering modern, global cuisine flared with Mexican flavors is now open at 50th & Xerxes.
Don Raúl, also known as DR49, is Ruiz’s latest project.
The restaurant will exist as Don Raúl during the day, when the fare will be more simple, comfort food. At night the space becomes DR49, an upscale international dining destination that gives a Mexican twist to flavors found across the globe, Ruiz said.
“I call it a two-in-one,” he said.
After moving to Minnesota in 1992, the Mexican-born, French-trained chef has opened several restaurants that fuse cuisines from different corners of the world. At Don Raúl, Ruiz sees no boundaries to the types of flavors that influence the menu.
Many of the items at DR49 will feature variations of traditional Mexican mole sauce that have been crafted to be attractive to American palates, Ruiz said. Dishes like the Tacos de Pato, a plate of duck confit tacos in a butternut squash mole, and Cordero, marinated lamb with vegetable couscous and roasted artichokes in a yellow ahi-pepita sauce, exemplify the fusion Ruiz is pursuing.
The dishes served up in the evening are smaller plates intended for sharing, Ruiz said, and will be rotated every couple weeks.
He said the experience is helping him understand his native culinary culture more deeply through collaborating with other chefs.
The cooks at DR49 are working with vegetables new to Ruiz such as: caulinni, a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli; sea beans, a salty green vegetable; and a wide range of purple vegetables, including broccoli, tomatoes and potatoes.
“I’m just going out of my box,” he said.
Ruiz, who also operates popular Southwest spots Café Ena, La Fresca and Rincón 38, has named his newest restaurant for his grandfather.
“Don Raúl could tell you about his ancestors. And with him in mind, we pay homage to culinary traditions the world wide with a touch of Mexican flavors,” a description on the restaurant’s website reads.
The service style in the 38-seat restaurant located in the former Sew What space will be intimate. They plan to open a patio space with additional seating in the summer.