The team behind Amelia’s Mestizo Grill in Canaryville, cousins Leo García and Eusebio García, are opening a second spot, and they’re going to a neighborhood that’s as sceney as Canaryville isn’t—Noble Square. Fogón (1235 W. Grand Ave.; 312-421-2000), scheduled to open Saturday, will serve upscale Mexican food similar to the cuisine at Amelia’s, but with a completely different menu. Leo García divulged that appetizers will include lobster empanadas with purslane, cream cheese, caramelized shallots, and sun-dried tomato pesto with watercress salad ($12) and squash blossom fritters with corn, artichoke hearts, epazote, and Parmesan cheese served with tomatillo-jalapeño-avocado salsa crudo ($10). Among the entrées are pork tenderloin with Mexican fava beans, veal sausage, roasted tomatoes, and breaded onion rings with a spicy ciruela (prune) sauce ($23) and pan-roasted whitefish with a grilled vegetable napoleon, tomato concassé, and jalapeño-Champagne vinaigrette ($20). Of course, the downside to having two totally different menus is that now Canaryvilleans are going to have to travel if they want to try everything.
“You know how I feel about tacos. It’s the only food shaped like a smile. A beef smile.”—Jason Lee (1970–), American actor, as Earl Hickey on TV comedy My Name is Earl
While working in corporate America a few years ago, Michael (Huggie) Joo picked up some bulgogi—Korean barbecued beef—to bring to a barbecue. “No sooner had I put the meat on the grill than it was the first thing to go,” he says. Now he’s working to ride the wave of the West Coast Korean-taco trend to open La Tacorea (847 W. Belmont Ave.; no phone yet) out of a former electronics store in Lake View by early summer, if all goes well. La Tacorea will serve fast-casual Korean barbecue such as short rib, rib-eye steak, honey-soy chicken, garlic-wine shrimp, and sesame-soy-garlic tofu in burrito- or jumbo-taco-size tortillas with cilantro white rice, lettuce, red onions, and hot sauces. Bibim bap and kimchi jars will also be available. First Del Seoul, now La Tacorea—their deliciousness aside, Korean tacos are winning us over with their excellent punnery.
“It is really kind of America’s first fusion cuisine,” says Jason Lerner of Southwestern food. Lerner is a partner in Masa Azul (2901 W. Diversey Ave.; no phone yet), a forthcoming Southwestern-inspired 50-seat restaurant in Logan Square. He previewed some menu items for us.
• Duck tamale with chipotle crema
• Chorizo shrimp puff pastry
• Cornbread-stuffed quail with a honey-habanero glaze
• Fried artichoke hearts in a blue corn tortilla nest with ancho chili aïoli
• Chipotle sea scallops with poblano-blue cheese sauce
• Mesquite duck breast with pineapple tequila chutney
• Coffee- and pepper-encrusted beef medallions with an epazote reduction
• Chipotle triple chocolate cake with toasted pepitas and a chocolate glaze
Tequila, mezcal, and the lesser-known Mexican spirit sotol will feature on the drinks list. Lerner says Masa hopes to open “June-ish.” Sounds del-ish.
Italian Wedding Soup
With a father from Calabria and a mother from Abruzzi, Rosanna Mandile smushed together her heritage to name Calabruzzi’s Café (3302 S. Halsted St.; 773-247-9999), a southern and central Italian restaurant in Bridgeport scheduled to open April 4th. Mandile’s father, a mason by trade, worked at the now-vanished Papa Milano’s, and her mother, a stay-at-home mom, taught the family canning and home-making prosciutto and soppressata. On offer will be Italian classics such as lasagne, eggplant, and gnocchi, as well as specialties such as a pescara salad: calamari with shrimp, black olives, celery, carrots, lemon, and parsley tossed in vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Mandile’s father, Angelo, runs the kitchen. Calabruzzi’s also will sell thin-crust pizza, panzerotti (pizza puffs), and frozen treats from Black Dog Gelato. Mandile is lucky her parents’ home regions work so well together for the name. Our analogously named restaurant would have to be something like Cornhemia.
Excerpts from Dish’s interview with Sung Joon Song, the owner of Tangcups (905 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-698-7072), a yogurt place scheduled to open this Friday:
• “We have a lot more than frozen yogurt. We have yogurt sticks, like ice cream bars. It’s all 100 percent yogurt. This is our first store.”
• “About 15 flavors, every day. They will change about every three months. We make it all here.”
• “In the Chicago area, initially we plan to have 10 [Tangcups locations].”
• “I found there was a craze in the yogurt industry on the West Coast and East Coast. While I was researching, there was almost nobody in Chicago, but now there are about 30 or 40, [all] since I started my research.”
• “[Pinkberry and Red Mango] mainly focus on the serving of frozen yogurt with fruit toppings. We are focused on the yogurt itself. We researched how to produce good products of yogurt. We serve yogurt like parfait. Frozen yogurt is just a little part of our business.”
• “We are going to ship out and deliver, too. We have shipping technology. We got it from the medical industry. A lot of our machines relate to the medical industry.”
• Warning: Sweet potato soup may be highly addictive at Custom House Tavern.
• If it were in her zip code, the chopped salad at Salatino’s would be Pollack’s neighborhood favorite.
• Red Light stopped this week, but Gioco will get the green light again as soon as Jerry Kleiner can make it happen.
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Things to Do
1. Get your hot dogs at South Water Kitchen (225 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-236-9300), which kicks off baseball season with a sausage giveaway—five types in all, including a veggie variety—on Friday, April 1st from 5 to 7 p.m. (limit one per slugger).
2. Make up for lost time at Zealous (419 W. Superior St.; 312-475-9112), where the three-course, $33 dinner menu devised for last week’s Chef Week has been extended through this Saturday, April 2nd.
3. Say hello to the second half of the week at Cibo Matto (The Wit Hotel, 201 N. State St.; 312-467-0200), which, starting tonight, pairs wines with rotating selections of small plates for $20 every other Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m.
Dot Dot Dot . . .
In the tweet heard ’round the world, Grant Achatz announced on Twitter that his time-and-space bending restaurant Next (953 W. Fulton Market; no phone yet), possibly the most hotly anticipated restaurant in history, could open in a week, on April 6th. . . . After months of feeding a hungry public construction updates, sneak-peek pics of test dishes, and preview bites, Giuseppe Tentori will be filling plates at GT Fish & Oyster (531 N. Wells St.; 312-929-3501) starting tomorrow, March 31st. . . . Burger Boss (7512 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park; 708-452-7288) claims its share of the pickle-, onion-, lettuce-, and tomato-topped world in the western suburbs when it opens at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 4th. . . . Get to know cataplana—both a Portuguese seafood dish and the name of the copper pan in which it’s cooked—at Tocco (1266 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-687-8895), which introduces it to the menu on April 4th. . . . Uptown scores a spot for kebabs and authentic, modern Middle Eastern cuisine when Cairo Restaurant & Lounge (4810 N. Broadway; no phone yet) opens this spring.