Category Archives: Restaurant Experience

The Frontera Grill– A Chicago adventure


Earlier this week, a coworker and I went to the Chicago area for business.  A few years ago, I heard about a certain Culinary Genius named Rick Bayless.  Mr. Bayless has a few restaurants in Chicago. He’s won a James Beard award and several other awards.  You can catch him on PBS cooking on the show ‘Mexico- One Plate at a Time’.  Mr. Bayless’ specialty is Mexican Cuisine, something that is not too foreign to those who live in the Western US where the hispanic population is high.  We decided to visit the Frontera Grill while we were in town.

We drove through rush hour traffic to get to downtown Chicago, circled the block a few times to find a parking garage, and got on the waiting list.  I was suprised how busy the restaurant was on a Tuesday night.  It was over an hour’s wait!  We decided to take in a bit of the city while we waited for our table. 

The skyline of Chicago at night is breathtaking.  We felt like we were in the middle of Gotham City.  At any moment, the bat signal could have lit up the sky.  It didn’t.  We didn’t see any crazy people who painted thier face like a drunk clown.  Maybe next time. 🙂

After about an hour, we were seated at a little table just outside.  The weather was perfect for dining outside.  Our server was gracious and friendly and we were STARVING!  I ordered tortilla soup as a starter and ‘Tacos al Carbon’ made with skirt steak.  My coworker ordered the ‘Falda Asada Brava’, a spicy flank steak served with sweet corn tamales. 

Photo from of Sweet Corn Tamales

The tortilla soup was light and flavorful.  A bowl full of chicken, avocado, tortilla strips, and hand-made jack cheese appeared.  The server had a small pot full of a dark spicy broth that was poured over the ingredients in the soup bowl.  Fabulous!  Just the right amount of spice. 

The tacos were some of the best I’ve ever had.  The skirt steak was cooked perfectly– tender and flavorful.  The tortillas are made fresh for every order.  And my co-workers flank steak was just as tender as a filet mignon. 

We ended the meal with a chocolate pecan pie and a steaming cup of hot chocolate (made with Oaxacan dark-roasted chocolate). 

If you are in Chicago, I would definitely recommend the Frontera Grill.  It’s worth the drive, the traffic, and the wait.  If you can plan ahead, they do accept reservations.  🙂