Monday, October 10, 2005

La Quebrada - New(ish) Menu

La Quebrada changes its menu nearly as often as Alinea. Perhaps like ChefG, the maestros at Quebrada stay up late seeing how they can stretch the envelope of salted dried beef (a/k/a cecina). Actually, the new menu seems all about trying to get the Quebrada customer to eat more. There are several combinations ranging from $8.99 to $35 mostly combing grilled meats, but there is also a combination Teloloapan, which is like a restaurant version of the famed Maroon vans, fried tacos and enchilladas in Guerenese sweet dark brown Teloloapan mole. I'd like to comment on these items more, but I have never tried them.

La Quebrada makes some exceptional sauces, the curry scented salsa India (no joke), the house warm molcajete, with roasted tomatoes and chiles (I believe guaijillo) and the extra spicy, one dimensional, but one brutally great dimension arbol. Still, I've mostly settled in, of late with the antojitos (tacos, sopes, gorditas, picaditas).

All the antojitos at Quebrada start with a mass of nixtamal or corn masa dough (but NOT instant!). One woman in the kitchen forms to order the masa into different shapes depending on what you want. Gorditas have a thick base and the thinnest of tops for their stuffings, I especially like to have them with the steamed goat (barbacoa de chivo). If you are feeling vegetarian, get the picaditas, think a gordita without its top. While a lot of places make gorditas and such from scratch, few places also serve their tacos on fresh made tortillas.

I have not found a better tortilla in Chicago than the ones La Quebrada makes, large and thick. Stack about five and eat them with maple syrup for breakfast. The taco de cecina is, with the tacos de barbacoa at La Ley, my favorite taco outside of Maxwell Street. The ingredients do not look like much, typical friojoles refrito, bits of drab cecina (a truly ugly product), a sprinkling of pico de gallo and a dab of guacamole. Because all of the materials, from the tortilla upward, are so well done, the taco is so well done. That's what sums up La Quebrada.

From the outside it looks like nothing special, certainly one of any of thousands of Mexican places around Chicago. Inside, they make the effort to make things better. Guacamole, salsas, pico de gallo are not difficult things to make, even tortillas are not THAT difficult, assuming ideal nixtamal, yet Quebrada coaxes the most out of these things. Over time, La Quebrada has spread. You have no excuse from finding your own location. Check the new menu because it may change soon.

4859 W. Roosevelt - Cicero
3818 W. 63rd - Chicago
5100 S. California - Chicago
2906 W. Cermak - Chicago
723 S. Broadway - Aurora

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