Escalivada: roasted peppers and eggplant, charred onions, and manchego with romesco sauce
Chef Ryan Poli has worked in Spain, lived in Spain, and eaten his way across Spain. The guy has got romesco running through his veins. Now, with help from the people behind Mercadito, Poli (Perennial, Butter) brings it all back home this fall. Tavernita, a small-plate gastrobar in River North, is built to capture España’s festive swagger with a crudo bar and three good old liquor bars. And then there’s Poli’s menu, which includes scallops in ajo blanco with toasted Marcona almonds, cucumber, and celery—and desserts such as toasted bread with chocolate, olive oil, and sea salt. “It’s like a snack that mothers would give their kids when they come home from school,” says Poli. Man, we grew up in the wrong country. 151 W. Erie St.
Photograph: Anna Knott