Libertad exploded like fireworks over downtown Skokie when it opened last September, and the little storefront's crackle of electricity has only intensified. Gonzalez, the chef/partner, freely invites foreign flavors to his small-plate fiesta, as in silky scallops with black rice, yuzu, and Chinese long beans, all dripping with habanero butter sauce. Chapati tortillas mingle with chipotle hummus over here, an acorn squash gets cozy with wild mushroom risotto over there, and they all get washed down with hand-shaken apple daiquiris. Libertad is no melting pot: It's more like a tossed salad with a really good sherry-truffle vinaigrette.

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Price symbols indicate the typical cost of a meal (without tax, tip, or alcohol) per person.
¢ … under $20 | $ … $20 to $29 | $$ … $30 to $39 | $$$ … $40 to $49 | $$$$ … $50-plus