Given its neighboring vape shops and streetwear brands on Melrose, this northern Mexican spot with saloon doors looks a little out of place. But, inside, the Beverly Grove crowd is just what you'd expect: 20-somethings in low-rise jeans drinking margaritas and snacking on queso fundido next to decorative cow skulls. Don't be like the low-rise jean people. This restaurant serves braised meats and thick flour tortillas that are soft like satin, and the menu is worth exploring way beyond the tequila cocktails someone might drink absent-mindedly after shopping for vintage cargo pants.
If you do the meal right, you'll end up with a table of Flinstonian-sized entrees. There's a lamb shank dish that's well worth its $46 price tag—it's braised in salsa roja until the meat falls apart. Beef ribs come in a sticky chipotle glaze that's equal parts smoky and Jurassic-sized bone marrow tacos require you to scoop out the fatty good stuff from the bone onto a warm tortilla covered in melted cheese. These are our favorite things Durango Cantina makes. The chunks of grilled asada on top balance the fat, creating a buttery (admittedly hefty) bite.
While you may have passed this Mexican place 100 times without thinking twice, Durango is almost better off because of its out-of-place surroundings. So go ahead, stop in for a very good prickly pear tequila cocktail. Just don't stick to queso for dinner. Get a full meal.