There’s just about nothing better than a great late-night taco. Chef Norman Fenton is taking that axiom of good eating to another level, offering up a 10 course, late-night taco omakase menu at his Uptown restaurant, Cariño.

Fenton, who Chicago diners may recognize from his time in the kitchen at Schwa, also ran the last restaurant that was at Cariño’s location, Brass Heart. When Brass Heart closed without warning, it gave Fenton an opportunity to take over the space and explore his passion for Latin cuisine. Fenton has lived in Mexico, and actually ran a restaurant in Mexico while he was chef at Brass Heart (working seven days a week and flying back and forth). He calls Cariño “a love letter to people and things I’m passionate about.” The restaurant’s fixtures and art are all hand-crafted by people he knows in Mexico, and Fenton is importing single-source corn and making all of the restaurant’s masa from scratch, using an expensive machine with volcanic stones.

With all this effort being put into Cariño (but only a few seatings per night), it made sense to explore other ways to bring diners into the space. Also? Fine dining cuisine is fairly wasteful, and Fenton wanted a way to use the great product in his kitchen. “I’m taking down a salmon into tiny perfect cubes for the tasting menu; what do I do with the scrap? I can make a new dish for taco omakase,” explains Fenton.

Those who are familiar with the space may remember its prior, prior iteration as 42 Grams — in that form, it had a large chef’s counter where diners could get up close and personal with the kitchen. When the restaurant was converted to Brass Heart, the kitchen was walled up and the counter removed, but Fenton wanted it back. “The whole time I was thinking that I just wanted that wall down,” remembers Fenton. “I was in a cage in that kitchen — I couldn’t see the customers, and that was my favorite thing about the industry; I want to interact with the guests.” Well, the counter is back, and that’s where the seven-seat taco omakase menu is served.

The menu is constantly changing, but the structure will stay relatively stable. Dinner starts with an oyster (right now, an oyster michelada), before moving into a variety of other masa-based dishes. For example, a tostada-based take on an al pastor, except using lamb tartare topped with cilantro-lime salad and sour orange gel. “These are all familiar flavors; when you eat this, you’ll get very familiar al pastor flavors, but in a vessel you’ve never had before.”

After a few more courses, things move into the tacos. There will be four to five different tacos each night, including a fish taco, a seafood taco, an A-5 wagyu taco, and always, a classic taco. Classic meaning no modern twists, just the very best version of a Mexican staple that Fenton can make. An optional upsell is a truffle quesadilla with seasonal mushrooms, which I can’t imagine skipping. There are a lot of thoughtful little touches on the menu; for example, the tacos are all served with key limes. Fenton says, “No one does that, but the flavor is so much more floral and prevalent, so it really adds to it.”

The omakase, which also includes two drinks (either wine, beer, or cocktails), costs $125, which includes tax and gratuity. That’s an incredible deal. “I’m giving you A-5 wagyu that costs $80 a pound,” laughs Fenton. “It’s not an outlet to make a lot of money, but one for us to express ourselves.” The experience is ticketed and has to be reserved in advance on Tock. It’s offered Wednesday to Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

He’s already had guests that have done the full menu at Cariño, gone over to the Green Mill while the kitchen resets, and done the full omakase menu; clearly, the restaurant has some super fans. “That’s what I want to see,” says Fenton.