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  • Post #301 - July 29th, 2011, 7:25 pm
    Post #301 - July 29th, 2011, 7:25 pm Post #301 - July 29th, 2011, 7:25 pm
    Stopped by a couple of times, at first very skeptical of the place. As mentioned above, the first time I only tried the al pastor, and was far from impressed. Then i read this thread and tried some of their other creations, which were very good. On my most recent visit i had a couple drinks and ate a full meal. I was pleased with the queso fundido and the pork belly taco. Both satisfying, not amazing, but very good. Dreaming of an al pastor from tierra caliente I ordered a charred jalapeno. Annoyed that they aren't complimentary (only $1, but then again it's only 1 jalapeno). I resigned to the idea and ordered it, but it never managed to make it's way out of the kitchen.

    I don't really need to echo that the tacos are good, yet small and expensive (as has been thoroughly covered above). The tacos are hit or miss, mostly good, and i keep telling myself it's a whiskey bar which serves tacos, not the other way around. For bar food, it's decent and affordable. Are there better tacos, nearby at 1/2 price and 2 to 3 times the size? yes. Better bars, sure, depends what you're in the mood for. There is just not a good bar that serves good tacos (that i know of).

    Yet, something else leaves an unsettling feeling. The size, price and copycat nature of the food comes off as exploitative to me. I didn't try it, but I'm pretty sure the huitlacoche taco is fine. It's probably not as good as the huitlacoche quesidila you can get at rubi's booth at maxwell street market, which is I'm sure 4x the size (i have a hard time finishing 1 and a half of those things). Brings to mind a though that has passed through my head many times, while eating great, cheap food, something along the lines of: "Wow, I'd pay 4x the price for this taco and still love it..." well now that I've been given the opportunity, I doubt that thought will cross my mind again. With so many other places being more reliable, for tacos I won't be going out of my way for Big Star.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #302 - August 4th, 2011, 1:29 pm
    Post #302 - August 4th, 2011, 1:29 pm Post #302 - August 4th, 2011, 1:29 pm
    Going to check out Big Star tonight but going very late. It says they are open until 2am normally and 3am on saturdays, does anyone have any idea if their kitchen is still open past 11pm? I have tried calling multiple times but nobody ever seems to pick up for some reason? I went late last week but because of the power outage they said they were only serving drinks, so that would obviously lead me to believe that food and their regular menu is open during all their hours of operation.
    If anyone has any clue or can verify they do in face leave their kitchen open past 11pm until closing Id appreciate a reply, thanks!
    I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )
  • Post #303 - August 4th, 2011, 2:56 pm
    Post #303 - August 4th, 2011, 2:56 pm Post #303 - August 4th, 2011, 2:56 pm
    Did this place get any less stupid since the NAV MAN moved away?
    Cheetos are my favorite snack atm.
  • Post #304 - August 4th, 2011, 4:49 pm
    Post #304 - August 4th, 2011, 4:49 pm Post #304 - August 4th, 2011, 4:49 pm
    NAV MAN wrote:Did this place get any less stupid since the NAV MAN moved away?

    Define "stupid" in this context. Because you might as well have said, "is this place any less, sorta, you know?" ;)

    Maybe I could find more context in some past post of yours, but this is an 11-page thread, so, you know.
  • Post #305 - August 4th, 2011, 5:22 pm
    Post #305 - August 4th, 2011, 5:22 pm Post #305 - August 4th, 2011, 5:22 pm
    NAV MAN wrote:Did this place get any less stupid since the NAV MAN moved away?



    I'll take this one Khaopaat....NAV MAN, the answer is no. It will never be THUNDERCANS and while the tacos are tasty they're $3 and chock full of snarkiness.

    Anyone else notice that the old Pontiac sign now resides at Five Star on Chicago? Any chance that place has live band karaoke? You should hear the set of pipes on IDID.
    Last edited by I Do It Daily on August 4th, 2011, 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Colombian women are skalleywags.
  • Post #306 - August 4th, 2011, 5:31 pm
    Post #306 - August 4th, 2011, 5:31 pm Post #306 - August 4th, 2011, 5:31 pm
    I Do It Daily wrote:
    NAV MAN wrote:Did this place get any less stupid since the NAV MAN moved away?



    I'll take this one Khaopaat....NAV MAN, the answer is no. It will never be THUNDERCANS and while the tacos are tasty they're $3 and chock full of snarkiness.

    Anyone else notice that the old Pontiac sign now resides at Five Star on Division? Any chance that place has live band karaoke? You should hear the set of pipes on IDID.


    The NAV MAN does a piano version of 'Lady in Red' that can steal the heart of a woman in a faraway land.
    Cheetos are my favorite snack atm.
  • Post #307 - August 9th, 2011, 6:58 pm
    Post #307 - August 9th, 2011, 6:58 pm Post #307 - August 9th, 2011, 6:58 pm
    What happened to Big Star? One of my favorite weekday lunches, have a beer and read the paper stops. Dropped in today around 1 p.m. Pork belly - dry and real chewy. Fish taco - mealy and slathered with sauce. Chicken thigh tostada - covered in sauce. Service - atrocious. I usually look past the pretentious service because it's efficient. Today, sat with an empty beer while the bartender and server chatted in the server station forever. Maybe it was an off day but my gut is that with the patio it's all about pumping out quantity.
  • Post #308 - August 9th, 2011, 7:35 pm
    Post #308 - August 9th, 2011, 7:35 pm Post #308 - August 9th, 2011, 7:35 pm
    I actually also ate at Big Star today at about 2pm, ordered from the window and sat on the picnic benches. Everything was fine, although I agree that the current prep of the chicken tostada is very saucy (but I like it a lot).
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #309 - October 11th, 2011, 12:29 pm
    Post #309 - October 11th, 2011, 12:29 pm Post #309 - October 11th, 2011, 12:29 pm
    I'm officially burnt out on this place. No, its not the wait and cramped quarters, I fully expect to be herded like cattle on nearly every visit except maybe the crappiest of winter days. Love the cocktails, bourbon selection, drink specials, and the shorty Schlitz on tap. But I've reached a level of fatigue with the food. I do think its gone downhill- things appear and taste haplessly thrown together and potentially hot-held, not unlike the prep at your average corner taqueria. On my last visit everything tasted the same. Too salty (weird because I love salt), too greasy (weird because I love grease), and the same to-my-taste seasoning on all three of the things I ordered on my last visit- taco de panza, tostada de pollo, and taco de papas. All three offerings tasted like they were made yesterday and microwaved with homogenous textures, save for the occasional unpleasantly chewy piece of chicken or pork belly. And seriously there seems to be no rotation in their standard fare- besides tweaking a garnish here or there or switching up the veggie taco. What, no barbacoa ever again? What happened to the specials? Remember when they would throw in a taco de tripa or pozole into the mix? The food here is a chink in the armor of the otherwise always satisfying grub of the Kahan empire. Next time just drinks for me at Big Star.
  • Post #310 - October 11th, 2011, 9:23 pm
    Post #310 - October 11th, 2011, 9:23 pm Post #310 - October 11th, 2011, 9:23 pm
    Cant agree more with previous statements re: hit-or-miss quality from Big Star...specificly, the take out window. As a former 3x a week patron, Ive seen my cravings for the Big Star fare all but disappear in large part to the inconsistencies of the kitchen.

    Perhaps Im bored with the menu but more than likely Im over bringing home a sack of tacos, only to find them overcooked (pork belly), bland (fish tacos), unbearably spicy (chicken tostada) or without limes/hot sauce (unnecessary in the infant days of Big Star but all too necessary as of late).

    How I miss thee, Big Star.
  • Post #311 - October 11th, 2011, 10:10 pm
    Post #311 - October 11th, 2011, 10:10 pm Post #311 - October 11th, 2011, 10:10 pm
    I'm also a 2-3 time a week patron of the take out window and haven't had any consistency problems or getting-my-accessories problems. Dumb luck, I guess. I do agree that the old chicken was very very spicy, but it was one of my favorite things on the menu. Not as big a fan of the new chicken, with the onion rings and pumpkin seeds.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #312 - October 12th, 2011, 8:46 pm
    Post #312 - October 12th, 2011, 8:46 pm Post #312 - October 12th, 2011, 8:46 pm
    I was able to take advantage of the free tacos from their truck parked at Fulton and Wood last night. They were great...cooked better, and tasted fresher than they do in the restaurant.
  • Post #313 - January 12th, 2012, 11:06 am
    Post #313 - January 12th, 2012, 11:06 am Post #313 - January 12th, 2012, 11:06 am
    if acid bombs are your thing, you need to try the current squash tostada. it was alittle too sour for my liking, and i always love a decent dose of acidity.
  • Post #314 - January 12th, 2012, 11:29 am
    Post #314 - January 12th, 2012, 11:29 am Post #314 - January 12th, 2012, 11:29 am
    jfibro wrote:if acid bombs are your thing, you need to try the current squash tostada. it was alittle too sour for my liking, and i always love a decent dose of acidity.


    My wife had that over the weekend and she really didn't like it. I only tried a bite and thought it was fine, but she was really put off.

    This was our first visit to Big Star. The pork belly taco was so good it made me forget that I hated every other part of the Big Star experience.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #315 - January 12th, 2012, 10:50 pm
    Post #315 - January 12th, 2012, 10:50 pm Post #315 - January 12th, 2012, 10:50 pm
    Josh - I never go to Big Star in the winter ... I really find the whole thing hinges on sitting outside at a picnic table and suddenly it's all good experience.
  • Post #316 - January 12th, 2012, 10:56 pm
    Post #316 - January 12th, 2012, 10:56 pm Post #316 - January 12th, 2012, 10:56 pm
    Oh, I could definitely see that.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #317 - January 12th, 2012, 11:40 pm
    Post #317 - January 12th, 2012, 11:40 pm Post #317 - January 12th, 2012, 11:40 pm
    See, I'd never go except for a weekday lunch, ideally off-peak hours. Mostly I just get carryout, though.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #318 - January 12th, 2012, 11:45 pm
    Post #318 - January 12th, 2012, 11:45 pm Post #318 - January 12th, 2012, 11:45 pm
    We were there mid-afternoon on Sunday. The place wasn't packed, but I just didn't like the vibe from either the patrons or the people working there. Like I said, I really liked the food (especially the pork belly taco), but the rest of the experience I just found to be off-putting. The patio, or an off hour mid-week, or takeout all sound like good options.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #319 - January 12th, 2012, 11:59 pm
    Post #319 - January 12th, 2012, 11:59 pm Post #319 - January 12th, 2012, 11:59 pm
    If I'm drinking -- or have already been drinking-- I enjoy the entire Big Star experience so much more. 8)

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #320 - January 13th, 2012, 1:19 pm
    Post #320 - January 13th, 2012, 1:19 pm Post #320 - January 13th, 2012, 1:19 pm
    Just curious...what did you feel was "off putting" about the patrons?
  • Post #321 - January 13th, 2012, 1:43 pm
    Post #321 - January 13th, 2012, 1:43 pm Post #321 - January 13th, 2012, 1:43 pm
    Well, things got off to a bad start when we tried to sit at the bar, but someone decided their jacket needed to take up a stool. They looked at us like we had 3 heads when we asked if they could move it so we could sit down (the place was pretty crowded). Also, I was the only one in there without some sort of ironic facial hair/witty t-shirt...just not my crowd (as I find to generally be the case when I'm in Bucktown).
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #322 - January 13th, 2012, 1:49 pm
    Post #322 - January 13th, 2012, 1:49 pm Post #322 - January 13th, 2012, 1:49 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:If I'm drinking -- or have already been drinking-- I enjoy the entire Big Star experience so much more. 8)

    =R=


    I could say this about a great many things. :)
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #323 - January 13th, 2012, 2:15 pm
    Post #323 - January 13th, 2012, 2:15 pm Post #323 - January 13th, 2012, 2:15 pm
    Hmmm...I've had nothing but good experiences at Big Star. I've typically gone with one of my daughters (high school and college) or my wife - neither of us being their target demo. Always been treated well, tacos have been good, and a few times great, and while I traditionally favor the stronger spirits, I have enjoyed more than a few beers there. Then there is the sound track. Great rockin' tunes! My advice, try to pop in when they aren't too busy, and don't let your own perceptions of the crowd undermine what is generally a very good time.
    "Living well is the best revenge"
  • Post #324 - January 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    Post #324 - January 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm Post #324 - January 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    jesteinf wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:If I'm drinking -- or have already been drinking-- I enjoy the entire Big Star experience so much more. 8)

    =R=


    I could say this about a great many things. :)

    Yes, especially family gatherings. :D

    In all seriousness, it's a bar -- and it's a bar with a distinctive selection of whiskeys and really good food. I can't say I ever think of going there if drinking is not somewhere in the equation.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #325 - January 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    Post #325 - January 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm Post #325 - January 13th, 2012, 2:56 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:If I'm drinking -- or have already been drinking-- I enjoy the entire Big Star experience so much more. 8)

    =R=


    it is a bar concept afterall, though i'd say 9 out of 10 patrons are eating.

    jesteinf wrote:We were there mid-afternoon on Sunday. The place wasn't packed, but I just didn't like the vibe from either the patrons or the people working there. Like I said, I really liked the food (especially the pork belly taco), but the rest of the experience I just found to be off-putting. The patio, or an off hour mid-week, or takeout all sound like good options.


    most busy evenings include an equal mix of hipsters and yuppies. the last night we were there, both the bartender and server were helpful and engaging. the bartender was slammed but still stopped to chat about their beers.
  • Post #326 - January 13th, 2012, 2:58 pm
    Post #326 - January 13th, 2012, 2:58 pm Post #326 - January 13th, 2012, 2:58 pm
    jfibro wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:If I'm drinking -- or have already been drinking-- I enjoy the entire Big Star experience so much more. 8)

    =R=


    it is a bar concept afterall, though i'd say 9 out of 10 patrons are eating.

    Yep. Just said as much above at the exact same moment you were posting this.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #327 - January 13th, 2012, 3:01 pm
    Post #327 - January 13th, 2012, 3:01 pm Post #327 - January 13th, 2012, 3:01 pm
    I changed my mind about Big Star about a year ago, at that time I found myself going with friends, but not eating there. Once I quit drinking heavy the lure of Big Star ceased to exist. I think their Al Pastor tacos are average, and lacking something, & I think the sonoran hotdog is a really poor version.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #328 - January 13th, 2012, 3:10 pm
    Post #328 - January 13th, 2012, 3:10 pm Post #328 - January 13th, 2012, 3:10 pm
    jimswside wrote:I changed my mind about Big Star about a year ago, at that time I found myself going with friends, but not eating there. Once I quit drinking heavy the lure of Big Star ceased to exist. I think their Al Pastor tacos are average, and lacking something, & I think the sonoran hotdog is a really poor version.

    Oh, I like the food quite a bit but find that I rarely think about going there unless I'm also drinking.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #329 - January 13th, 2012, 3:29 pm
    Post #329 - January 13th, 2012, 3:29 pm Post #329 - January 13th, 2012, 3:29 pm
    The michelada I had was really good (though I will admit that I'm a bit of a michelada whore).
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #330 - February 28th, 2012, 1:30 pm
    Post #330 - February 28th, 2012, 1:30 pm Post #330 - February 28th, 2012, 1:30 pm
    First visit to Big Star last night. Then enjoyed reading this thread, which is equal parts food analysis and sociological breakdown of the composition of the crowd. I must confess, I was unable to discern whether last night's crowd tilted more to yuppie or hipster. All I noticed was that the entire crowd was my kids' age, which to me, if fun, becuase it confirms I'm not in my suburb. The waitress was very friendly, probably because she liked serving someone her parent's age.

    Jonah

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