So we really did end up waiting about two hours to get seated at Frontera Grill. Thankfully we had churros, hot chocolate, and nice weather to tide us over, and fortunately, the food did not disappoint.
We started off by splitting the Entremes Surtido, Frontera’s appetizer platter, which is priced per person ($8.50/each, minimum two people). It included cheesy quesadillas, crispy chicken taquitos with sour cream, tangy ceviche tostadas, crunchy jicama salad and guacamole. The quesadillas were more empanada like. The crispy taquitos were a surprise hit; everyone really liked the smoked chicken filling. The ceviche tostadas were definitely the group favorite though. The guacamole and jicama salad provided some much needed contrast to what would’ve otherwise been a pretty heavy platter of food.
For entrees, we all agreed to get something different and allow other people to taste. Here’s the round up:
- One friend got the Pescado en Mole Verde Oaxaqueno, a green chile-marinated, grilled fresh day-boat catch (that day, a striped bass) with classic Oaxacan green mole (scented with epazote, hoja santa), queso anejo mashed potatoes, and braised kale. I’d never had green mole before but really enjoyed it. It was much lighter and brighter tasting than a standard mole.
- I got the Carne Asada a la Oaxaquena, a Creekstone Natural Black Angus rib steak, marinated in spicy red chile and wood- grilled, served with black beans, sweet plantains with sour cream, and guacamole. It was HUGE and perfectly cooked.
- The group’s favorite, however was the Pato en Mole de Xico, a red-chile rubbed Gunthorp duck breast with a fruity, dark-chile mole, gulf-style white rice (studded with plantain and raisins), quick-cooked spinach, and plantain tostada.
We also got a basket of corn tortillas to share at the table and they were really, really good. (In fact, we asked for more.) I’ve tried many times (with very mixed results) to make corn tortillas at home so I always take note when a place has good tortillas. Although we were absolutely stuffed, we wrapped up the meal with a piece of Frontera’s pecan pie with Kahlua whip cream. (It was good but not that pretty so I’m afraid I didn’t snap a picture.)
All in all a really solid meal but I’ve come to realize that there really isn’t a whole helluva lot that I’m willing to wait two plus hours for (or in the alternative, 6-8 weeks for a reservation). I’m not sure when I’ll be headed back anytime soon but I’m glad to have crossed this off my list of Chicago restaurants to try out.