I knew when I walked in the door and learned that this place not only has a bar dedicated to mezcal, but allows its patrons to buy bottles to go, that I was in the right place.
Quiote (“kee-O-tay”) which refers to the agave flower used to make mezcal is a quaint little Logan Square spot making a name for itself with its deliciously handcrafted spirits and decadent Mexican cuisine.
Dan Salls (the executive chef and the first to receive a food truck license in the city of Chicago for his West Loop business The Salsa Truck) partnered with Paul Biasco to create the concept for Quiote. Every dish is original and prepared with fresh ingredients from local farms.
The first item that jumped out at me on the menu was the crab tostada.
*My mouth is watering as I type this.*
Order two (whether you’re by yourself or not)!
Crab meat sits in a bowl underneath a tostada topped with radish, mustard seed, black lime and a hot sauce aioli. I’m glad that I took these photos before I tasted it because it didn’t last long at all! My only complaint is that for $14 bucks, I wish that there was a bit more to savor. Nevertheless, this dish was a great start.
When the next dish came, I understood why I needed to pace myself. The chicken en mole ($24) was a wonderful second course large enough for two to share. Roasted orange carrots are paired with juicy grilled chicken covered in mole sauce and sprinkled with granola (which made this dish quite interesting and the perfect main course).
And just when I thought that I only had room for dessert, my friend insisted on ordering the esquites fundido. OH BABY!!! Talk about richly decadent! Sweet corn, brown butter, queso cojita, pickled serranos and crema are baked to perfection and served with crunchy tortilla chips for dipping. ($12)
Finally, there was the dessert that melted in my mouth and made me dance in my seat! This had to have been the best churro I’ve had in my life! Topped with piloncillo ice cream (piloncillo is unrefined Mexican sugar), bananas and Chile’ peanut butter, this dish is NOT to be shared unless you plan to have a “war of the spoons” when you’re down to the last bite. ($9)
Make sure you indulge in a mezcal cocktail or 3 before leaving this place. It’s quite the unique experience.The hibiscus margarita was probably my favorite. ($12) It was sweet and smoky with a hint of spice. But if you’re not a mezcal fan and are looking for something a little lighter, the avocado smash is a great choice. Made with rum, lime and tomatillo sugar, it was simple and refreshing. ($12)
The owner says he wants people to come to his restaurant and feel like they’re at a party at their best friends’ house. And with the great food, cocktails and service they provide, I would say they got it right.
Quiote is open for lunch or dinner everyday except Tuesday and brunch is served in Sundays. Or you are welcome to just stop by the adorable food truck (named “Kwee”) parked out back after 5pm, grab a few tacos and either sit outside or hang out downstairs at the subterranean mezcal bar.
*Quiote is located at 2456 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647