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Saturday, January 31, 2015

FRONTERA GRILL

 FRONTERA GRILL
CHICAGO, IL

FRONTERA GRILL
445 NORTH CLARK STREET
CHICAGO, IL  60654
312-661-1434
HOURS:  Closed Monday and Sunday
                 Tuesday 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM / 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
                 Wednesday and Thursday 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM / 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
                 Friday 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM / 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM
                 Saturday 10:30 AM - 2:00 PM / 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM

I have been following Chef Rick Bayless for years and always enjoy his cooking when I see him on television.  With only a few nights on this trip to Chicago I knew that I really wanted to try his flagship restaurant the Frontera Grill.  I called the restaurant and was able to get an early reservation the same day.  I was so excited; 1) to eat Mexican food and 2) to eat at a Rick Bayless restaurant.  Arrived starving and craving some Chips and Salsa.  Our waiter never offered up the Chips and Salsa and after ordering appetizers figured there would not be room for them anyway.  Started with Street Food Trio ($19.75).  Enchilada Potosinas, Pork Gorditas and Sopas Rancheros.  Surprised that none of these items hit home with me on flavor.  The Old School Frontera Trio ($18.50) was another story.
Now these were the flavors that I had hoped for.  The Ceviche Tostada was amazing and probably the best thing we ate all night here.  The Smoked Chicken Taquitos were also quite good and something that I would order a larger version of.  The Quesadilla was pretty basic and lacked flavor.  The Pork in Tomatillo and Chicharron ($23.50) was an interesting concoction of flavors.  When I put them all into a warm flour tortilla they tasted ok but when I tasted each individual component separately, the flavors were fantastic.  The Pork on its own was great.  The Oaxacan Style Carne Asada ($34.50)
was a bit of a disappointment.  Did not like the marinade on the steak.  It was however cooked perfectly and I loved the beans.  My fried ordered Margaritas here and said they were the best he had ever tasted.  He was powering them down like ice water so I think he really liked them.  I always judge a restaurant by asking myself if I would go back.  Sadly to say after this visit I would not return to the Frontera Grill.  Just not as good as I expected.  Perhaps I do need to return here to try some more of the menu items. Don't ever want to write off Rick Bayless so I will give this place another chance when visiting the Windy City.

FRONTERA GRILL IN CHICAGO
PEOPLE LINING UP BEFORE THE 5:30 PM OPENING ON A TUESDAY
FESTIVE AND LARGE BAR AREA
SEATING IN THE BAR AREA
THAT IS CHEF RICK BAYLESS IN THE WHITE COAT IN KITCHEN
MAIN DINING ROOM IS RATHER SMALL AND INTIMATE
NOT OFFERED CHIPS AND SALSA BUT DID GET THIS
FRONTERA GRILL MENU
FRONTERA GRILL MENU (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

STREET FOOD TRIO
ENCHILADA POTOSINAS, PORK GORDITAS, SOPAS RANCHEROS
OLD SCHOOL FRONTERA TRIO
CEVICHE TOSTADA, SMOKED CHICKEN TAQUITO AND CHEESE QUESADILLA
 
PORK IN TOMATILLO AND CHICHARRON
MADE A BURRITO WITH THE PORK BUT REALLY THE PORK WAS DELICIOUS ON ITS OWN 
OAXACAN STYLE CARNE ASADA 
MADE A BURRITO OUT OF THE CARNE ASADA
VENOMOUS PINTOS
CHEF RICK BAYLESS HAS AUTHORED NUMEROUS COOK BOOKS AND IS FEATURED
ON SEVERAL COOKING SHOWS
IMAGES IN THE RESTAURANT


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