Barcocina, Chicago’s popular Mexican restaurant concept, expanded and opened its second location in West Town. Having just opened in October, the new location at 1814 W. Chicago Ave. is very similar to the beloved Lakeview restaurant’s energetic environment and playful approach to hospitality, while offering a variety of exciting new menu items.
Executive Chef Ramiro Piza is at the kitchen’s helm, curating a menu that encapsulates the restaurant’s signature fusion of traditional Mexican fare and multicultural flavor’s. The West Town location’s menu features both current classics and exciting new plates for diners to indulge in. Barcocina favorites such as the signature Balsamic Guacamole or Elotes Corn Salsa, and creative tacos like Pineapple Pork and Bang Bang Shrimp, line the menu along with new additions such as Scallop Ceviche Bites with Jalapeno, Strawberry, and Hibiscus Caviar.
The beverage menu also reflects the lively spirit of Barcocina. Signature cocktails such as Summer Sangria, House Party, and Skinny Punch are served on draft, in addition to a carefully curated cocktail menu featuring sweet, smoky, and spicy flavor profiles that show off the bar’s extensive list of tequila and mezcal. Monday through Friday, guests are invited to enjoy festive offerings for happy hour.
The West Town location mirrors the Lakeview location’s contemporary, yet rustic environment. The bright, modern bar and dining room area leads out onto a large patio through a series of garage doors, creating an inviting space to be enjoyed year-round. One of the largest in the area at 4,000 square feet, the patio features Barcocina’s signature ivy and summertime cabanas.
Barcocina is currently offering heated igloos this winter, providing a unique space to gather as a group during Chicago’s cooler months.
I have always been a fan of the Lakeview Barcocina, so I was thrilled to try out the newest location in West Town. It looks very similar to Lakeview, and is in a great spot on Chicago Avenue with easy street parking available.
My guest and I had a fantastic server, Ivan, who was very welcoming and knowledgeable about the food and beverage menus. He made several great suggestions for our meal. Also wonderful, was the floor manager, Daniel, who came to our table throughout the meal to see how our dining experience was. The restaurant offered great service and had amazing teamwork. Everyone was very attentive and personable.
Our drinks were lovely and tart. We sampled the Paloma (Espolon blanco tequila, grapefruit, lime, citrus pop) and Pear-a-dise (Beefeater gin, licor 43, pear puree, lemongrass infused simple syrup). Our delicious and savory, creamy appetizer included Truffle Street Corn Guacamole (black truffle shavings + cotija cheese + arbol chile), served with crunchy, warm house made tortilla chips. The other two guacamole items on the menu look delicious as well, but our stomachs could only consume so much food at one time.
The Scallop Ceviche Bites with Jalapeno, Strawberry, and Hibiscus Caviar was also out of this world, and well balanced in terms of aroma, taste, texture and flavors, though the jalapeño was a bit spicy for me. Ivan was very nice and brought me a mild version without the jalapeño. Then I was able to appreciate the fresh flavors more without the added heat.
Incredible tacos soon made their way to our table: Bang Bang Shrimp (tempura battered + togarashi + sweet chili sauce) and Jamaican Jerk (mango salsa + scotch pepper aioli + micro cilantro). I loved the shrimp tacos and how creamy and tender they were with every bite. The crunchiness of the tempura worked well with the shrimp. My guest highly enjoyed the jerk chicken and how it was perfectly seasoned with the mango salsa and aioli.
Dessert completed the meal with Barcocina’s signature Dulce De Leche Roll (caramel filling, cavils ice cream, whipped cream). It was very comforting, yet not overly sweet.
The only aspect we felt could have been improved at Barcocina was the loud volume of the music. It was much quieter when we arrived earlier, but as the night went on, more diners came in and the music kept getting turned up. It was frustrating sitting right next to my guest at our table, and not being able to hear her during our conversation.
Overall, West Town’s new Barconcoa is just as hip and enjoyable at the original Lakeview location. I’d strongly recommend a stop there for great food, drink and service (just go earlier in the day so you can actually have a conversation with your company).
Photos: Jennifer Lunz
To learn more about Barcocina’s newest location, visit the website or call 773-270-4027.