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February 5, 2008

Zocalo

by gastronomicbypass

Location – 358 W. Ontario (Ontario and Orleans)

http://www.zocalochicago.com

In one word – Spicy

Food – I went to Zocalo when it first opened and didn’t have a satisfying experience. I equated it to the restaurant being new, still trying to find its groove. I went back last weekend. Still not satisfied. My general complaint was that the spices were too powerful. I couldn’t taste anything because of the burning sensation on my tongue. We started with the trio of guacamole. This was the high point of the meal. You get the traditional guac, the spicy guac and a fruit guac served with tortilla and plantain chips. I loved the plantain chips. For my entree, I tried the tilapia tacos. While I’m no chef, I felt like I could make it at home. I didn’t need to pay someone else to do it. Besides there being too much spice, the tacos were kind of soggy. My eating partners chose the enchiladas and the skirt steak. Same issue – the food was too spicy.

Drink – This place is known for its tequila selection, but we opted to get a bottle of cheap wine (Santa Rita Reserve). It wasn’t amazing, but it helped make the spice go away.

Service – I found our server to be very pleasant and able to answer all of our questions about the menu.

Scene – With our early dinner reservation (6:30), I found it hard to judge the scene. When we were dining, it seemed like a lot of 30-something groups of friends were having dinner. At that hour, most of the clientele was from the neighborhood. The bar area is quite large, so I’m curious if it starts getting more sceney later in the night.

Dress – Jeans works just fine. Beware of a potential influx of halter tops, I think a lot of folks come here before going to the clubs in River North.

Cost – I paid $34. I thought it was too much for what I got. I left with buyer’s remorse.

If you like, try…Lalo’s, de cero

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