After three profitable pop-ups final winter, longtime associates Israel Fernandez III and Wilfredo Bravo have been prepared for a everlasting location, and had simply discovered one, contained in the Logan Sq. bar Spilt Milk. Fernandez had some much-loved household recipes for posole and barbacoa. Bravo had skilled expertise cooking with Rick Bayless. And as Mexican People who grew up in Chicago (Bravo moved right here from New York Metropolis throughout highschool), each have been on a mission to modernize conventional fare into “dope tacos and bomb pozole,” to cite the restaurant’s tagline. Their timing couldn’t have been worse.
Fernandez and Bravo have been all set to open Kumbala Pozoleria & Barbacoa in time for St. Patrick’s Day and, nicely, everyone knows what occurred. In order that they regrouped and shifted their focus to carryout and supply, opening in early June, simply in time for the protests to roil town. So the pair closed Kumbala, waited just a few days, and tried once more. It’s an excellent factor they persevered as a result of, as marketed, their meals is dope.
Bravo is aware of the place to carry his cheffy strikes. His vegan posole verde ($7.50) is contemporary and vibrant, with appropriately chewy hominy and crisp-tender chunks of zucchini and chayote in a serrano broth enriched with pipián. And his chilled shrimp tacos ($8.50 for 3) unite oil-poached shrimp with salsa macha for an expensive texture and thrumming, subtly spicy taste. (I want we had gotten a double order of those.)
However this chef additionally is aware of when easy is finest — specifically, within the case of the barbacoa, which has all of the little fatty bits and uneven shreds you need from this meaty basic. If the flavour appears beefier and deeper than you’d count on, that’s due to an excellent quantity of brief rib within the combine. You will get the barbacoa in a set of tacos ($8.50), however if you happen to’re ordering takeout, simply go for a full pound ($40). It comes with cabbage-citrus slaw, salsa verde, and greater than three dozen white corn tortillas. You’ll be fortunately consuming it for days and pondering, Take that, 2020.