Last week was a big one at Birrieria Zaragoza, home of the finest roast goat north of La Barca. On Friday, Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern sat down to a plate of machito for the show's second Chicago episode. And earlier in the week, Jonathan Zaragoza landed a gig as the new executive chef at Logan's Square's Masa Azul. Back when I reviewed it I was pretty excited about the tequila-focused beverage program from owner Jason Lerner and bartender Jenny Kessler, but I was a bit lukewarm about the food from chef Alvaro Chavez.
Zaragoza, who did a stint at Sepia and is well known for collaborations with the Butcher & Larder, Pleasant House Bakery and artist Eric May, replaces Chavez on September 1 (the restaurant will shut down for a week or two so he can retrain the staff). Meanwhile he's developing the new menu, which will maintain its Mexican direction with southwestern influences. A few dishes he's nailed down already:
—Scallops with sweet potato puree, arugula, chorizo dressing, crispy chorizo, and ancho oil
—Grilled squab with mole Oaxaqueno, wild rice, and pepitas
—Chipotle shrimp with cilantro pesto and cotija grits
And, of course, there will be goat.
Fear not, the Birrieria Zaragoza branches will stay open, with the other members of the clan picking up the slack.