Coobah Chicago

We like eating out in different neighborhoods and last night we decided to check out Southport Avenue in our old neighborhood Lakeview on the North side of Chicago.

When we lived there over 20 years ago, the neighborhood was quiet and not too exciting to say the least, with the exception of the atmospheric (architectural style) Music Box theater which has been the premiere venue in Chicago for independent and foreign films for many years, a few store fronts and a couple of cafes next to the theater were about all that area had to offer.
Since then, this mellow and sleepy street has turned into an evening destination spot with a bunch of charming stores, lively outdoor cafes/restaurants, and a fun area where you can hang out with the locals.

I've been to Coobah a couple of times before for drinks and breakfast, but this was the first time for dinner. The food is supposed to be Latin fusion from Cuba, Spain, Brazil, and the Philippines.

"Coobah" is obviously a pun on the pronunciation of "Cuba", so going in, you wonder what exactly it is that you are about to get into, and if you happen to be from Cuba (like my husband) there are certain expectations that you come in with. I was originally skeptical and tried not to have high expectations, because in the past, whenever I go with high hopes, I end up getting disappointed.

We started with Sugarcane Caesar salad. They used sugarcane instead of anchovies. I'm a big fan of anchovies so I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. But I was very happy that we ordered it, because it was really GOOD!

They slightly roasted a large chunk of romaine lettuce and the flavor of the gentle roasted lettuce with a subtle sweetness of sugarcane was a perfect combination. I truly respect and cheer any chef who experiments with tastes of traditional or common dishes and turns them into something flavorful, addictive, and new.

We wanted some more! But decided to wait for the next surprise. The two appetizers we had were Sauteed Shrimp and Jibarito (fiery jerked chicken layered between caramelized plantains) and we shared Chicken Negra Modelo for the main dish. And they were all yummy! They had several other dishes that we wanted to try but we can only eat so much unfortunately.
I would highly recommend sharing dishes here, something I love to do at any restaurants. We shared one salad, two appetizers, and one main dish which worked out perfect since the portions are pretty generous.

The funny thing is that we often complain about how restaurants serve big portions in the US compared to Europe, and that's one of the reasons why we have this massive obesity problem. Then when I go to a restaurant where they serve tiny portions, I struggle with that view unless the food is exceptional. I guess we are just too accustomed to having the big portions...

To wrap up, we were very happy that we got to check out this Latin fusion place, especially after coming back from a 5 month long stay in Miami. But don't let "Latin" stick too long in your mind because this place practically re-invents what "latin" flavor is. Their flavor offering expands way beyond the limits of Latin food. It was a real treat.

Good eating!

From our partner: LO+JUNE

From our partner: LO+JUNE
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