Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bar Takito

Having grown up around Mexican culture, I am kind of picky about Mexican food.  Generally, I am more picky about low end Mexican food (because that is what I am most familiar with).  But I also can be pretty picky when a restaurant is trying to bring something low end upscale.  I do really appreciate, though, those restaurants that can do this.  There are a few restaurants that are trying to do this with Tacos.  Big Star and Antique Taco do this well.  I had heard of another that people raved about, Bar Takito, which started in Wicker Park, but which has since moved to the West Loop.  I have been interested in visiting it since it's days in Wicker Park, but I had not made it there.  Recently though, an opportunity presented itself and I decided to try it out.  Located in a hot area, it was pretty busy on the Friday night that I went.  The entrance is on the side of the building through the large patio.  There was road construction occurring when I went so it might have been that the front entrance just would have been difficult to use.  The building largely uses wood in structure and design and looks, with the timber slabs used on the walls and floor, like a frontier saloon.  The tables on the patio are typical patio furniture.  The tables used in the dining room are long, white, and rectangular, and look both modern and kind of cheap with white formica tops and steel legs.  The seats are, depending on the table, either white plastic chairs, or fire engine red.  The chairs along the long bar are steel and also painted fire engine red.  It was Friday and pretty busy, so I sat at the bar.  Not that I wouldn't have sat at the bar in any case, but in this case, it was just easier.  The menu specializes in Tacos, but there are also shared plates, ceviches, and vegetables.  I knew that I wanted to get tacos, but I needed to decide what kind of tacos I wanted and if I wanted anything else, so I started with a cocktail.  Being a Mexican inspired bar, there were a lot of Margaritas with some other Tequila/Mezcal drinks, and a small selection of non-Tequila based drinks.  I have never been a fan of Margaritas, so I decided to go with a non-Tequila Drink.  Called Violet! You're Turning Violet, It was a very bright red-violet drink containing Rebel Yell Rye, Blueberry Grenadine, Lemon, Lavender Spice Bitters, and Bee Pollen.  It was pretty good and tasted very much of blueberries, very tart and sweet.
While I was enjoying my cocktail, I decided on my appetizer and tacos, both of which arrived at once.  For my appetizer, I decided on Papas Fritas, which is what potatoes are called in Spanish.  While there were other things besides the potatoes in the description, I though that I was getting fancy French Fries.  This was not the case.  They were closer to stuffed potatoes.  The dish was Crispy Peruvian Purple Potatoes, Spicy Cheese Sauce, Pork Belly, Parsley, and Garlic Mojo.  It was crispy, spicy, salty, cheesy, and very good.  While the presentation was a surprise, I really enjoyed it.  For my Tacos, I went with Octopus Tacos with Popcorn Tortillas, Polenta, Dried Chorizo, and Arugula.  I am not a fan of popcorn, so I was a little concerned about the tortillas.  Other taco tortillas used Pepitas, which I like, but I was interested in the Octopus, so I decided to take a chance.  While the popcorn could be tasted, my problem with popcorn is the texture and as it was ground, it was not an issue.  Between the polenta and the tortilla, the taco tasted strongly of corn.  It was good, but it was a little unusual.  The octopus used a single tentacle for each taco (I was served three) which was cooked perfectly.  It was savory and tender with very little rubberiness.  The arugula added a peppery flavor which went well with everything.

While I liked the food here, it has a vibe of a place to be seen at which is really not something that I am interested in.  I would be happy to try more of there tacos, but I don't know that I would return on a Friday night.    

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