by Mike Sula
It's another round of new restaurant reviews this week in Food & Drink. In addition to featured takes on Han 202, Ristorante Al Teatro, and Fuego Mexican Grill & Margarita Lounge, there are ten more recent openings in the listings.
You might observe that things lean heavily toward Mexico this time. After hitting five new Mexican spots in the space of nine days, no one knows that better than I do. What's going on here? Each place has pretensions above the corner taqueria level. Two are on Milwaukee Avenue, two are on Lincoln, and, sad to say, I'd only return to one of them. Geno Bahena's new Lakeview spot Los Moles is pretty terrific, but given his track record I wonder if it'll be around by the time I'm ready to go back.
Frankly, I wonder how long any of them will be around. I'm certainly not one to denigrate the tremendous influence the School of Rick has had on our restaurant scene, and I'm not saying each of these new spots are necessarily derivative of Frontera/Topolobampo, but I can't help thinking that's where this is coming from. We already have plenty of really good upscale Mexican restaurants--Salpicon, Sol de Mexico, Mixteco Grill, to name just a few. Is it possible to open a truly original Mexican restaurant anymore? Just asking.
And another thing, unrelated: Rumor has it that changes are afoot at Grocery Bistro that may render our review obsolete.