Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chicago: Tavernita (River North) - the corn pudding to die for!

While in Chicago, my friend and I ventured to River North to meet up with friends for a drinks. Even though we bar hopped and nibbled on dishes all night, I was hoping to check out at least one of the recommendations from my colleague. Tavernita was one of them - it is a Latin/Spanish restaurant from the same owners of trendy Mercadito.

They have a great wraparound patio seating area which has kind of a trendy yet casual gastrobar feel to it. The noise level was high and the patio was rather happening. Unfortunately every seat was taken.

We ended up grabbing seats inside, which had a completely different feel to it - it was more sophisticated and uber swank, with modern lightning and flooring. Clientele seemed older compared to the patio outside.

The menu at Tavernita is Spanish inspired, with a variety of small plates for sharing. The dishes are not entirely Spanish flavored, you can find the typical croquettes, patatas and gambas, but also hamachi crudo and lamb sausage.

I ordered a quartino of the refreshing Albarino. I was surprised that the serving was quite large (it felt more than a glass and a half) but it only cost $10.

Because I live in the no-foie state of California, I was so excited to order anything foie. 
Foie gras mousse with cherry compote really hit the spot. Thick and smooth with intense livery flavor. Gosh, I really miss the rich and decadent foie gras. It was paired well with freshly grilled baguette.

Corn pudding with shrimp was such a wonderful surprise. I wasn't expecting a large skillet of baked corned pudding that was soft in the center with zing from poblano, and topped with a nice crust. The corn pudding was topped with large pieces of succulent shrimp and a fresh herb salad. Such a unique dish that I was glad to have ordered.

I was quite pleased with what we ordered. If we weren't so full, I would have loved to order more from their menu such as pork belly bocadillo and braised short ribs with crispy potato puree. But the foie mousse and corn pudding was enough to whet my appetite. It's definitely a place that I would recommend for a fun night out with some good food.

151 W. Erie
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 274-1111

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