Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cafe Iberico

Location: 739 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60654
Cafe Iberico on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
When it comes to tapas in Chicago, Cafe Iberco has worked hard to establish itself as one of the top in the city.  If you are unfamiliar with tapas, they are a small portion of almost any food that are intended for sharing... "family style."  The menu is very extensive, making it easy to find a couple dishes or more to try per person.  One of the most appealing features of Cafe Iberco is definitely its location.  Being in River North, everyone would expect this place to be absolutely packed.  But, even when it is extremely busy, I always find it easy to just "walk in" or make last minute reservations.  The staff is excellent except for the musicians that can be annoying and definitely loud at times.  All the food is pretty good, but each dish has something that just wasn't too pleasing to me.  And for that reason, I decided on giving them a 3.5 mile rating.  Check out the reviews below to see what I did and didn't like!

What We Ate:

Croquetas de Pollo

First dish out (after the bread and olive oil) was the croquetas.  These chicken and ham puffs are made from a potato base, mixed with different meats, deep fried, and then served with red pepper aioli.  On first bite, you are hit by so many different textures and flavors.  Crunchy followed by mushy and bacon followed by red pepper.  I absolutely loved the crunchy aspect of this dish, but I did find the sauce to be a little on the creamy side, making it a lot richer than it needs to be.  In fact, the richness was almost nauseating.  Questionable to order again.

Pincho de Solomillo

I believe this dish was a spin on a classic Peruvian dish.  The Pincho de Solomillo is a beef tenderloin skewer served with both caramelized onions and french fries.  Yes...  french fries!  The beef was very tender for being more well done that I would have liked.  The caramelized onions added a sweetness to the entire dish.  And surprisingly, the french fries were delicious.  In fact, my friend and I thought the fries were the best part of the dish.  Just for suggestion... next time cook it a little more medium rare.

Queso de Cabra

Definitely my favorite dish of the night.  The queso de cabra which, I believe, translates directly to goat cheese is a classic hot tapas dish that is a must have.  The goat cheese sits in the middle of warm fresh tomato-basil sauce allowing it to melt, yet retain most of its creamy texture.  It comes with toasted baguettes rubbed with a little garlic/basil/oil.  Pile the goat cheese-tomato sauce spread on high and enjoy.  You will definitely have the problem of "so much dip... not enough toast."  I only wish they gave extra toast rather than having to scrap together a few slices of bread for the extra dip.

Patatas Bravas

I never know why I always order the patatas bravas.  Are they that good?  Is it a filler dish?  I think after this experience, I consider it more of the latter.  These potatoes are cooked with a "spicy" tomato sauce that may have been more bland than anything.  I mean it is a huge tapas dish and for the price, it is a great filler.  But next time I am going to try to stay away from these potatoes so I can try something new.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
- Valet parking is available.  But there is also plenty of parking usually on Superior.
- For last minute dinner plans, Cafe Iberco is a great choice.  The restaurant is fairly large so they can accommodate quite a crowd.  We didn't have reservations and we waited for maybe 2 minutes.
- I really wanted paella, but it takes about 1 HOUR to prepare... sort of ridiculous, but it must be amazing... so prepare for a longer dinner if you want it.

- Spanish musicians come to tables and play guitar and sing.  It actually gets obnoxious after hearing how loud they play.  Don't make eye contact and they won't come.

How far would I walk for this food?

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