Urbano Cafe is a neighborhood restaurant, but it’s worth a drive if you don’t live in East Dallas. The centerpiece of the lunch menu is still the panino, as it was at the former location on McKinney Avenue. But at dinnertime, the white tablecloths come out, and the kitchen turns out fairly priced fine dining options, many prepared using fresh produce from Tom Spicer’s shop next door. The menu is small, with a rotating selection of blackboard specials, and we ordered from both. Mussels steamed in chunky marinara spiked with chorizo, a blackboard special, arrived piping hot with triangles of bread freshly grilled on the panini press. We chose a salad and mains from the regular menu. To split, a salad of warm red and yellow tomato, with a swirl of pesto, chunks of mild blue cheese, and a nest of Spiceman’s earthy micro greens. For him, strings of fettuccini with shrimp that were cooked firm but not too long, with bits of crabmeat, all tossed gently with a light white wine butter sauce and hefty sprinkling of parsley. For me, peppercorn mélange dusted salmon, pan seared then finished in the oven, swimming in a sea of lemon broth with quartered beets, halved fingerling potatoes, and wedges of squash and zucchini. The salmon was cooked all the way through, which left it a bit dry, but the hearty fish regained its moisture from the lemon broth. Sea beans and green beans, sautéed with red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, onions, and garlic, were kelly green and crisp and a perfect summer side. 


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