I’m not trying to pick a fight in my first Local Tourist post, but whoever awarded Cafecito “The Best Cuban Sandwich in Chicago” probably hasn’t had one. (I won’t name any names…Time Out Chicago)
So, when my family came to town a few weeks ago, we had to find a place that would satisfy my father’s Coral Gables upbringing as well as our collective obsession with authentic Cubano cuisine. A quick internet search uncovered the devastating reality that one of our favorite spots Café Bolero had closed. A little saddened and dismayed, we resolved to try a fairly new Logan Square joint called Paladar Restaurant & Rum Bar
When we walked through the door, my father remarked at how the pictures adorning Buca di Beppo-like walls reminded him of a Cuban friend’s house growing up. That’s when my mouth started to water.
We got our hands on some menus as our sweet waitress brought out warm crusty bread with whipped garlic butter. Empanadas with four unique sauces and a small, not really Cuban, salad were next. Both were good, but we soon found ourselves breathing in the heavenly aromas of picadillo, arroz con pollo, chivo and oxtail. In case you’re wondering, those would be a typical ground beef dish, chicken and rice, goat stew and beef tail on the bone in a tomato based sauce.
If you’ve never had goat or oxtail, I suggest you run - don’t walk - to Paladar. Both dishes feature tender, fall of the bone chunks of meat in rich, flavorful sauces. As the meal winds down you’ll find yourself attentively pushing rice around the plate to soak every last drop while quietly wishing you could bathe in the stuff.
Paladar stays very true to The Flavors of Cuba by dishing out wonderfully authentic, tasty dishes with a few delightfully unique twists. While you’re there, dive into the full Caribbean experience by enjoying a glass of premium Caribbean rum and prepare yourself for an unforgettable joyride.
P.S. - If you’ve been to Café Bolero and bells are going off in your head, they should be. Turns out Paladar is owned by a family member, has nearly the same menu and is moving to the exact spot that Café Bolero used to occupy!