A Favorite Disappoints

Tango Sur is an Argentinian steakhouse on the north side of Chicago. It’s an affordable BYOB with a patio, and it’s incredibly popular. It’s a spot I’ve recommended often. Apparently so has everyone else. And their brother. And their cousin…After a visit there Saturday night with my family I’ll continue to do so, but with a few caveats.

 

  • If you’re going on a Saturday night, plan on waiting an hour and a half. We did. That’s a pain, but it was impressive that the host kept names and cell numbers in a seemingly haphazard fashion in a tiny notebook, yet he seated us exactly at the time he quoted. Spooky.
  • If you have to wait an hour and a half, consider stopping into Cullen’s for some onion rings. Instead of looking for another restaurant we decided to have some appetizers there. My parents both exclaimed they were the best onion rings they’d had since going to Hamburger Hamlet back in the ’80s.
  • Bring earplugs. Tango Sur has got to be one of the loudest restaurants I’ve ever been to, especially when they have the place jammed so tight you can play footsie with people at three different tables. Please, guys, consider putting some cloth on the walls or something. After a certain point, that party atmosphere turns into an excruciating experience akin to being forced to listen to every Bette Midler song ever recorded playing at the same time at top volume. 
  • Be patient. We waited 45 minutes for our food. That’s not bad if you can have a lively conversation, but the noise level was so high we couldn’t even commiserate about how loud it was.
  • Order steak. This is why people come to Tango Sur. The steak is delicious and enormous. My last two visits I’ve shared with someone and still had enough for lunch the next day.
  • Don’t order breaded anything. Dad had the breaded veal and it was thin and dry. My son had the breaded steak topped with ham, mozarella, and a tomato sauce, and it was thin and dry. 
  • Do BYOBeverage. Unless you’ve got your own, it’ll take as long to get a drink as it does to get your food.

Tango Sur is still a place I’ll recommend – if you have all night, and if you want a good steak, and if you have a high tolerance for noise, and if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. But from now on you’ll only see me there on a weeknight on the patio wiping the crumbs from Cullen’s onion rings off my lap.


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