Worth the Trip: Bar Takito

Object of my affection was a bowl of Carolina Gold rice

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By David Hammond

It's rare that I'm hungry in the morning, but I had a breakfast dish at Bar Takito that made me (compelled, forced, gave me no reason not to) keep eating it: I had thirds, I could hardly stop. It was wonderful.

The object of my affection was a bowl of Carolina Gold rice with big kernels of choclo (chewy, lush Peruvian corn), some crushed pistachios and pickled vegetables. Oh my, this was a wonderful dish. The flavors were so clean, the rice so lush and lovely and beautiful, the corn offering a textural contrast, bursts of moist carb liquid, and the pickles perking it all up. I loved it.

We were invited to have brunch at this place, which kind of surprised me, as I did an "impertinent interview" with Bar Takito Chef David Dworshak in Eater some months ago (the last question in the interview was from him to me: "Are we about done with this?") Even though this piece was intended to be humorous, I was concerned that I might have burned bridges with him, which I'd be loath to do as he's an awesome chef and a good guy. Such concerns were quickly allayed when he came over to chat with us during lunch.

Carolyn got the arepas (South American corn cake) with steak and eggs, and I had the pombazo (a long bun filled with meat and, usually, floating in sauce).

The arepas with steak and eggs and bacon was superb; nice touch of spicy sauce, a great way to start the day.

My pombazo had excellent flavor, but as I mentioned to Dworshak, I think it needed more sauce. The house-made chorizo was very good, meaty and spicy, but the sourdough bread was so thick, it really needed a knife and some serious elbow action to cut off a bite-size chunk. If this dish were done in traditional style (and I'm not saying it should have been, just saying), it'd be awash in spicy, tomato-based sauce, which would help soften the bread and thereby defeat dryness, the great enemy of all sandwiches.

For drinks, I had a mezcal that'd been aged in a cask that previously held a wash of coffee; a very fine breakfast booze.

Carolyn had an "avocado shake" that was mind-blowingly good: rich, vegetal, with a little tequila and aloe vera liquor. Lightly green and rich, fantastic.

Bar Takito is on Morgan Street, less than a block from the new Google Headquarters. It's actually a shorter walk (in terms of actual feet traveled by our feet) from our house in Oak Park to Bar Takito than it is from our house to downtown Oak Park. A 15-minute shot from the Green Line stop at Ridgeland, it's way worth the trip – and you should make that trip for brunch before Google kids take over the west loop and, eventually, the world.

 

Bar Takito

201 N Morgan St, Chicago

(312) 888-9485

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David Hammond  

Posted: May 2nd, 2015 6:05 AM

Living near a big city definitely affords dining opportunities unavailable to smaller communities. Not only is there more diversity in larger urban areas, but the level of play is frequently higher due to competition among restaurants.

Eric Reeb  

Posted: May 1st, 2015 5:39 PM

From the "impertinent" interview: "Mendez once said to me, "I can tell how old a chef is by looking at his menu." What he meant was that younger chefs tend to show how awesome they are by loading on a lot of ingredients, whereas Mendez tends to prefer to highlight just three or so ingredients. Looking at your menu, I'm guessing you're a young man?" And the way the interview ends is perfect.

Scott J. Frankel  

Posted: May 1st, 2015 4:53 PM

Thanks for this David. This is exactly the kind of fun food adventure you can only get in a big city. We will definitely check out Bar Takito.

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