When I go travelling, I love exploring new foods. It doesn’t have to be new foods, I love trying foods I’ve had before but on holiday, it somehow tastes differently. Before I went to Chicago, I had looked up some restaurants to go to and many, including Lonely Planet, recommended Big Star so I obviously had to go as Mexican foods is one of the best!
Big Star doesn’t look much from the outside. They’re outside area reminds me more of belonging to a fast food chain but I imagine it to be packed with people on a hot summer’s day and lovely at night time when the lights are on.
I was first concerned I’d turned up on a day when it was closed but inside, it was buzzing for a weekday just passed lunch time. When entering, I was greeted by staff and asked if I’d like to sit at a table or alongside the bar. I chose to sit at a table, I feel more comfortable there, although the bar looked very cool in the middle of the room, surrounded by bar seats all the way around.
The service was very quick, I had to ask for a couple of more minutes just to decide on a beer, the list is long! I was recommended the beer at the top of the list: 21st Amendment “El Sally”, which is a Mexican Lager brewed in San Francisco. It was really nice, an easy and light beer on an early afternoon.
Everything on the menu is a la carte (1 portion is 1 taco) and I absolutely love that! It gives you more options of trying more than just one dish. I wish more restaurants served in tapas style! Anyway, as it was lunch time for me, I only wanted something light so stuck to the taco menu. They have an extensive list of different variations so it wasn’t easy to chose.
I ended up ordering twice, two tacos each time and started with Taco De Panza (crispy braised pork belly, tomato sauce, cheese, onion and coriander) and Taco Alambre De Res (grilled steak, pepper, cheese sauce, onion, salsa and coriander). I can’t even describe how good these were, I didn’t want and couldn’t stop eating. The flavours were doing a happy dance in my mouth! So good, I’ve never eaten such good tacos in my life, sorry Pinche Pinche and Cielo Blanco (Leeds Mexican prides).
In the next round, I tried Taco Al Pastor (marinated, spit roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, onion and coriander) and Taco De Pescado (beer battered tilapia fillet, chipotle mayo, cabbage, onion, lime and coriander). These were amazing as well but not quite as good as the two first ones. I’m not sure if it could have been because I got very full somewhere whilst easting these two.
An amazing visit so if you’re ever in Chicago, make sure you visit Big Star. For full beer and food menu, check out their website. More or less all tacos include coriander (best herb there is!!!) so if you don’t fancy that, ask for it not to be included, or miss out completely.
Which is your favourite Mexican restaurant? Have you been to Chicago and eaten at Big Star?