The locals call it Topolo and judging from chatting with a few Chicagoans, they are very proud of Bayless's trifecta of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and newest fast-casual addition, Xoco. After unsuccessfully debating on which entrees to choose, my companion and I decided to just go for it and get the five course tasting menu. This was the best decision I've made in a long time.
Sashimi-grade Hawaiian day boat catch with balled jicama, salsa, grilled pineapple and proscuitto crust - This was like a Mexican take on the classic proscuitto and melon. Salty, spicy, sweet, differing textures. This was a delicious start.
My friend started with the Pan-seared red-chile "enchiladas" of jicama "tortillas." Basically they were like tasty little croquettes of chicken, carrots and potatoes presented like sweetbreads. Cute.
If I could re-order any one part of this entire experience, out of all ten courses, this would be it. The slow poached egg had a consistency I wouldn't ever predict. It was a solid, essentially, but more like a gel. That sounds disgusting, I'm sure, but paired with the seared pork belly all swimming in a roasted tomato-habanero sauce, it just WORKED. Rick Bayless, you are a genius.
Second course numero dos I am really going to crave on a cold, rainy day. Badly. This was a soup with short rib and these yummy little pockets of love of masa dumplings.
I love baby animals. Especially when they're cooked well ;) Sorry, but baby octopus, but you are delicious and were the highlight of this course.Scallops, crawfish, mussels and squid weren't exactly too shabby either. A common theme here was the quality of the sauces. They were all so complex and enhanced every aspect beautifully.
Drumroll please.... I present to you the best prepared lamb I've ever had. This baby cut like butter and was surrounded by the deepest, most mind-blowing mole. Seared lamb belly (OMG) and a black bean tamalon completed this epic masterpiece.
This carnitas dish reminded me (in a very good way) of my favorite taco at Oyamel. Fatty, pork shoulder and belly cooked confit-style with tomatillo-avocado salsa melted in your mouth and got a nice limey kick from some salt lime air.
Considering desserts aren't really my "thing," these were pretty good. Note: I don't EVER take caffeine in any way, shape or form. I had one bite of this before my dinner date almost killed me. But that one bite was frickin delicious :)
I ended up mostly having this coconut rice pudding, which not only had infinitely less caffeine but was also sweeter and an overall good fit for me. Excellent end to a meal I won't be forgetting for a long, long time.
445 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654