October 11, 2010

Frontera Grill @ Chicago

It seems that I have a slight obsession with celebrity chefs. Rick Bayless is known for introducing America to Mexican fine dining, and he was also featured in Top Chef. My experience with Mexican food is limited to tacos from Taco Bell and quesadillas from non-Mexican restaurants, so naturally I was very intrigued. The interior of the restaurant is darkly lit with a charmingly funky decor.

An Aqua del dia, a daily drink is featured. Today was something with lime and mango. It was very tasty and refreshing after a long, hot walk to the restaurant.
Wanting to try a bit of everything, we ordered the Entremes Surtido: appetizer platter of cheesy quesadillas, crispy chicken taquitos with sour cream, tangy ceviche tostadas, crunchy jicama salad  and guacamole. The jicama salad (seen in the center of the platter) was my personal favourite, as it was very light and had great texture. Perhaps I was not in a mood for deep fried food that day. The guacamole was also pretty tasty, but I'm not really a fan of tortilla chips. I much prefer soft tortilla or pita.
Enchiladas de Mole Poblano: homemade tortillas rolled around Gunthorp free-range chicken, doused with Mexicos most famous mole; black beans. I've long wanted to try the mole sauce because it is made with chocolate. How can chocolate be worked into a savoury dish? The result is pretty positive. The sauce had a creamy texture with a tinge of sweetness. Although you can taste the chocolate, the flavours merged with the spices in a way that wasn't weird at all. I wouldn't say that it was the greatest thing I've ever tasted, but the combination was very interesting.
Queso Fundido de Pollo: Otter Creek Farm organic cheddar melted with Gunthorp chicken. Habanero-pickled summer vegetables from local farms. We all love cheese, so this was the winner at the table. Although I didn't really like the sourness of the pink vegetable that topped the dish, the cheese itself was very delicious. One problem was that the cheese hardened as it cooled, and I liked it better in its melted state.
Blueberry-lime with tequila ice cream, served with homemade cajeta (goat milk caramel). Loved the ice cream, hated the goat milk caramel. The blueberry flavour was very intense and the texture was delightfully creamy. I couldn't really taste the lime or tequila, but still enjoyed this quite a lot (sans caramel).
Overall, it was a very interesting meal, full of exotic flavours that I've never had before. I look forward to trying more Mexican food back in Toronto.
Frontera Grill on Urbanspoon



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