I was thinking that only one of the people who I know reads this blogs actually lives in Chicago. Well, then - being an uber-sweet Midwestern gal, I thought I'd provide some information for those of you who want to know more about Chicago. What better way to do that than through food! Because, if the size of my ass doesn't clue you in, I will tell you now that I love food! It completes me.
Tarascas (the website is not so great) is a cute little restaurant in Lincoln Park. The Targo, one of our buddies and I went there last Friday. It was super crowded, but we were seated in less than five minutes. The interior was eclectic and casual. The lighting was low and the conversation was loud. I like places like that, actually. I would say it was warm and/or cozy, but we were just a few feet from the door.
We were greeted by an impeccably dressed server. He was very polite, but a little difficult to understand. And our drinks took quite a while. Let me tell you though - when they ask you if you want the small or the large Margarita, don't be a hero! Go for the small. Holy Jesus. The small Margarita was quite yummy. It was flavorful, but still had a kick. I have it on high authority that the Mojito was quite tasty. I think they're nasty, so I'll have to pass that tidbit along second-hand.
The food isn't your standard Mexican fare - but you can get that - as Tarascas is known for its "world cuisine." I had the Caribbean Chicken: chicken breasts that were fried and dressed with a cashew gravy. The sides included a light Spanish rice and fried plantains. The Targo had the Pimento Chicken: grilled chicken breast with a mango sauce. The flavor was fabulous - a little bit of curry - but also a lot sweet. Our friend had Mariscos Costa Azul: a seafood dish that looked like a risotto and I think it was the best of the three.
The dishes ran between $12-$20 each, but the portions were huge. Each was definitely large enough to share, or take home for lunch tomorrow. The service was stellar. Tarascas is one of those places where all of the servers and bussers think the all of the customers are their jobs, not just the ones in their section. My only complaint was that the tables are right on top of each other. Again it's a small restaurant, but there were three large parties there at the time that may have led to the awkward seating.
If you're in Chicago and want to try a small establishment with outstanding service, unique dishes, in a super cute neighborhood with faboo bars to take in afterward, give Tarascas a try.
I give it three and a half black & white cats (out of four).