Cinco y Diez

In a college town rife with cheap burritos, Hugh Acheson’s latest restaurant explores the fresher regional flavors of Mexican cooking, made with seasonal ingredients that sing of the South. Acheson’s original Five & Ten space (his flagship moved last year) has been stripped of its scruffy gentility and simplified to a cantina feel, with a mix of light and dark woods, exposed beams, taupe-colored walls, and a longer bar. Start with a margarita or another mood-setting cocktail, like the
bourbon-fueled South by Southwest, spiced with chipotle, cumin, and citrus. Dive into executive chef Whitney Otawka’s menu with a glorious ceviche of local Georgia shrimp; lamb neck tacos (don’t be alarmed, the meat is as tender as pot roast); fun masa dough garnachas with black beans and queso fresco; and a winning tamal en cazuela (the texture brings to mind polenta) that warms with the earthy flavors of mushrooms, Mexican oregano, and chile oil. The fisherman’s stew made with coconut milk is a triumph, and the weekend brunch highlights Mexican riffs on sandwiches, including open-faced tartines and the tortas hormigas with pork loin.