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  • Post #331 - February 28th, 2012, 10:55 pm
    Post #331 - February 28th, 2012, 10:55 pm Post #331 - February 28th, 2012, 10:55 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    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=


    For the non-drinkers their salad is fantastic. If the hordes have died down I would go more often just for the salad & music. :mrgreen:
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #332 - February 29th, 2012, 8:55 am
    Post #332 - February 29th, 2012, 8:55 am Post #332 - February 29th, 2012, 8:55 am
    I like salad like the next guy, but I never saw it as a substitute for booze. No wonder temperence ultimately failed.
  • Post #333 - February 29th, 2012, 5:31 pm
    Post #333 - February 29th, 2012, 5:31 pm Post #333 - February 29th, 2012, 5:31 pm
    I like salad like the next guy, but I never saw it as a substitute for booze. No wonder temperence ultimately failed.


    I'll drink to that!
  • Post #334 - May 6th, 2012, 5:32 pm
    Post #334 - May 6th, 2012, 5:32 pm Post #334 - May 6th, 2012, 5:32 pm
    Finally got to Big Star last night (Sat night) after theater in the Flat Iron building. We enjoyed it, particularly when they threw out the bunch of people wearing sombreros. Wasn't sure what they did, but must have been bad.

    We arrived around 9:45, and it was packed, but we found a spot at the bar inside - there were scattered bar stools available. There was a wait for outside tables, but it was a bit chilly to be eating outside. If I'd had a warmer jacket, we might have waited for outside.

    One of the workers saw me standing and grabbed a nearby stool, and we got one for the DH about 15 mins later. The people to our left scootched over a little, which was nice of them. We settled in with Stone Pale Ale (on tap) although nearly everyone around us was having Micheladas. Two women came over and one ordered a Margarita. It came without salt and she sent it back to get salt on the glass, which they did (though she got a look, and I'm not sure what it was about, but when their third friend came, and they really were in the way, they retreated to another location).

    The two guys next to us on the other side were funny and we chatted with them for a while (turns out I know their 3rd friend who showed up later). They bought the bartender and one of the hostesses shots (hostess seemed also to be a friend of theirs). I suppose it's a fine line with how many shots and beers you can drink through the night and still function as a bartender.

    We had the pork belly and fish tacos and the mushroom/corn smut tostada. DH had the mushrooms, said it was very good. I had the fish which I thought was very tasty - clearly freshly prepared. We both liked the pork belly. We also got the queso fundido, which I didn't like as much, but I wasn't as hungry then, either.

    We ended up leaving around 11:30 or so. I would definitely go back, and would like to go on a week night when it isn't Cinqo de Mayo (and Derby Day - odd juxtaposition of headware out there).

    Wanted to add, also, that all the employees seemed just fine, if a bit busy. We never got anything other than professional, friendly service. The guy who had been helping us stepped away for a few minutes, and the woman who was on the other side was also then taking care of our side. She was clearly quite very busy, but was able to say "I'll get to your order in just a minute" in a way that was reassuring and not at all annoyed or exasperated (you know how people can get if too many people are asking them stuff at the same time).
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #335 - November 17th, 2012, 7:15 am
    Post #335 - November 17th, 2012, 7:15 am Post #335 - November 17th, 2012, 7:15 am
    Yesterday, I was at Big Star & had the 1st piece of fish I've tasted in over 16 years. It was delicious, & an accident, so I spit it out. But it really was delicious. It was the battered tilapia taco. It was so mild, in it's fishiness that it wasn't until I examined the flesh after biting into it that I realized it was definitely fish. I was with a friend who doesn't like fish, but she tasted it and loved it.

    It was also perfectly crisp & greaseless (in a good way).

    Now to recreate at home with a mandoline, potato(or maybe celery root) & a batter, like a potato croquette.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #336 - November 17th, 2012, 11:04 am
    Post #336 - November 17th, 2012, 11:04 am Post #336 - November 17th, 2012, 11:04 am
    pairs4life wrote:Yesterday, I was at Big Star & had the 1st piece of fish I've tasted in over 16 years.


    Simultaneously, another of your posts guided me to the fry-and-tzatziki laden Vegetarian Salad at Cross Rhodes before a concert last night, and it was probably the best all-vegetable main course I've had at a family place in 16 years. Karma is out there!
  • Post #337 - November 17th, 2012, 6:15 pm
    Post #337 - November 17th, 2012, 6:15 pm Post #337 - November 17th, 2012, 6:15 pm
    Santander wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:Yesterday, I was at Big Star & had the 1st piece of fish I've tasted in over 16 years.


    Simultaneously, another of your posts guided me to the fry-and-tzatziki laden Vegetarian Salad at Cross Rhodes before a concert last night, and it was probably the best all-vegetable main course I've had at a family place in 16 years. Karma is out there!


    Hilarious. I just love Cross Rhodes. We did 2 graduation meals there. Both my undergrad & grad school luncheons from Northwestern were there. They were about 10 years apart and over 10 years has passed since my last NU graduation and the place never fails.

    Speaking of Greek, although this is different, finally getting over to Taxim this evening.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #338 - May 17th, 2013, 12:39 am
    Post #338 - May 17th, 2013, 12:39 am Post #338 - May 17th, 2013, 12:39 am
    The Walking Taco is the only food item I've had at Big Star this calendar year that feels like they still care; the menu has been slow to update and the pastor and panza have really settled into a minimum-effort, textureless lukewarm groove. For $2, the Walking Taco nets you excellent salsas and fresh green onions over melted cheese, meaty, smoky beans, and the requisite commercial bag of Fritos. There is a playfulness and balance here that speaks of some pride. Perhaps the newly-swapped nopal torta also features this - didn't get to that this week. Drinks (soft and hard) are still a strong suit.
  • Post #339 - May 17th, 2013, 5:19 pm
    Post #339 - May 17th, 2013, 5:19 pm Post #339 - May 17th, 2013, 5:19 pm
    I think that Big Star is now doing a daily tamale special; apparently there is a lady working in the kitchen who would make them for the staff and now she's doing it full time for the customers. The chicken tamale I had last week was one of the best tamales I've ever had, and was a pretty generous size, too.
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #340 - June 18th, 2013, 10:50 am
    Post #340 - June 18th, 2013, 10:50 am Post #340 - June 18th, 2013, 10:50 am
    On Sunday morning the Big Star Taco truck was parked in the Big Star lot and serving Huevos tacos, Churros, and coffee. The Huevos taco was fine, tasty eggs with a flavorful salsa and onions, though quite small, but the Churro was very good. It reminded me of a French Cruller, eggy and soft, not too sweet, with a slightly crisp exterior, and was dusted with cinnamon sugar. It was shaped like a doughnut, with ridges like a churro normally has. They also have chocolate for dipping, but I skipped that. They seemed to be assembling the tacos in the truck, but as far as I could tell they weren't cooking in there.

    A doughnut by another name, stealthily not cashing in on the doughnut trend.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #341 - June 18th, 2013, 1:13 pm
    Post #341 - June 18th, 2013, 1:13 pm Post #341 - June 18th, 2013, 1:13 pm
    leek wrote:the Churro was very good. It reminded me of a French Cruller, eggy and soft, not too sweet, with a slightly crisp exterior, and was dusted with cinnamon sugar. It was shaped like a doughnut, with ridges like a churro normally has. They also have chocolate for dipping, but I skipped that.

    A doughnut by another name, stealthily not cashing in on the doughnut trend.


    Must be one of the churronuts I have been hearing about. :lol:
    Twitter: @Goof_2
  • Post #342 - August 17th, 2013, 11:48 pm
    Post #342 - August 17th, 2013, 11:48 pm Post #342 - August 17th, 2013, 11:48 pm
    I hope the kitchen's swap to fried catfish in the fish tacos is going away soon.

    We are long time regulars and we almost always go with some of their amazing fish tacos on the takeout side. We didn't notice the swap to fried catfish—noted by a tiny piece of hand-written tape on the menu at the window—and ordered a whole bag full of them to pound.

    First bite and we knew something was way off. Bones in many tacos (three larger ones in a single taco), dark colored skin and cartilage aplenty inside the meat (which we only noticed when we started picking out the bones). And the greasy, overly crunchy yet utterly flavorless batter was no where near their normal recipe by a longshot. And the fish itself tasted like mud.

    We ended up throwing the last few away in disappointment and got some pizza near home.
  • Post #343 - February 21st, 2014, 1:10 pm
    Post #343 - February 21st, 2014, 1:10 pm Post #343 - February 21st, 2014, 1:10 pm
    Big Star has ditched the walking taco, which was the most reliable and flavorful thing I'd had there in the past 18 months or so, which I realize is damning with faint praise.

    A newer addition is the Torta Ahogada. If you blindfolded me, I could not tell the difference between this offering and a Ricobene's breaded steak sandwich. No herbal, sour, brothy, savory, spicy, hot flavors whatsoever. Just bread, tomato sauce, and pot roast. $9. Back to the tree-buck tacos for me; at least they come with salsas and sometimes a chicken-shaped lollipop.
  • Post #344 - February 22nd, 2014, 3:18 am
    Post #344 - February 22nd, 2014, 3:18 am Post #344 - February 22nd, 2014, 3:18 am
    Wife and I went to Big Star again last weekend. It's good, solid food at a reasonable price. Assuming you can get in.

    This place is over scrutinized. It's good at what it does. Good tacos, great drinks, good atmosphere/music. Realistic pricing.
    It's way too small to fit the crowd that wants to eat there.

    There's really not much else to say. This could have been said years ago.
  • Post #345 - February 22nd, 2014, 2:49 pm
    Post #345 - February 22nd, 2014, 2:49 pm Post #345 - February 22nd, 2014, 2:49 pm
    I agree with Spanky.

    It's tacos and drinks. Period. It's simple. The demand is high because it's cheap and the ingredients are good. It's a delicious fun place. It's too bad it isn't larger. But I have a feeling a larger restaurant would still be outpaced by high demand.

    I sure will miss that walking taco. That thing sure was a guilty pleasure.
    "People are too busy in these times to care about good food. We used to spend months working over a bonne-femme sauce, trying to determine just the right proportions of paprika and fresh forest mushrooms to use." -Karoly Gundel, Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure, Joseph Wechsberg, 1954.
  • Post #346 - February 24th, 2014, 9:46 am
    Post #346 - February 24th, 2014, 9:46 am Post #346 - February 24th, 2014, 9:46 am
    Big Star Owners Bringing New Mexican Restaurant to Neighboring Storefront

    http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140218 ... storefront
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #347 - February 9th, 2015, 8:55 am
    Post #347 - February 9th, 2015, 8:55 am Post #347 - February 9th, 2015, 8:55 am
    Two weeks after Tom Van Lente walked away from Two, the West Town restaurant he helped build and guide to a Michelin Bib Gourmand, he'll lead his first dinner service at Paul Kahan's rollicking taco bar Big Star.

    On Feb. 10, Van Lente will slide into the chef de cuisine position vacated by Cary Taylor, who recently left Big Star after he and his family opted to relocate to Kansas City, Mo., for personal reasons.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... d-big-star
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #348 - September 30th, 2016, 11:46 am
    Post #348 - September 30th, 2016, 11:46 am Post #348 - September 30th, 2016, 11:46 am
    Big Star Opening Second Location Across From Wrigley Field

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2016092 ... el-zachary
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #349 - January 14th, 2017, 5:21 pm
    Post #349 - January 14th, 2017, 5:21 pm Post #349 - January 14th, 2017, 5:21 pm
    Had a quick, small dinner at Big Star this weekend. The tacos are excellent, but the place is just too damn noisy for me. We had a table for two at a window (so not even in the middle of things) and I had to lean over and talk very loudly to have any chance of being heard. I won't do that again, but I realize that having to scream to be heard is apparently attractive to a lot of people.
  • Post #350 - March 3rd, 2017, 12:13 pm
    Post #350 - March 3rd, 2017, 12:13 pm Post #350 - March 3rd, 2017, 12:13 pm
    Steve Dolinsky has reported that Big Star is bringing back it's Sonoran hot dog for one day, this Tuesday March 7th. I love these dogs so hope to stop by in the evening after dinner rush.

    URL: http://tinyurl.com/j2v9a6a
    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #351 - March 3rd, 2017, 2:59 pm
    Post #351 - March 3rd, 2017, 2:59 pm Post #351 - March 3rd, 2017, 2:59 pm
    I don't prefer Big Star over many favorite modest, regional taquerias, but it's a huge improvement to the United Center's food offerings. On par with the upgrade represented by Tortas Frontera at O'Hare - though that place is now so well-known that the line is always too long. It's been written up in just about every magazine's and web site's list of best airport food.

    I think I've said this before, but hipster-ized yet authentic tacos are probably Chicago's greatest recent gift to American gastronomy. Every town with any culinary self-awareness has places trying to be like Big Star and Antique now, whether they know it or not. Did great tacos exist in other towns (LA, San Antonio, etc.) before Big Star? Sure they did. But the cheffy, boozy, mustached, possibly culturally-appropriated taqueria is ours, for better or worse.
  • Post #352 - March 8th, 2017, 8:57 am
    Post #352 - March 8th, 2017, 8:57 am Post #352 - March 8th, 2017, 8:57 am
    Sweet Willie wrote:Steve Dolinsky has reported that Big Star is bringing back it's Sonoran hot dog for one day, this Tuesday March 7th. I love these dogs so hope to stop by in the evening after dinner rush.
    -
    So I did end up at Big Star last night, their version wasn't close to the Sonoran dogs of Tucson, (bun was too big, far too much mayo/mustard, not enough beans). That said I did finish it and was pleased.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #353 - January 30th, 2018, 8:53 am
    Post #353 - January 30th, 2018, 8:53 am Post #353 - January 30th, 2018, 8:53 am
    Big Star to Unleash Two Floors of Tacos Across From Wrigley Field in April

    https://chicago.eater.com/2018/1/29/169 ... restaurant
    "At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom." George Carlin
  • Post #354 - February 1st, 2018, 6:58 pm
    Post #354 - February 1st, 2018, 6:58 pm Post #354 - February 1st, 2018, 6:58 pm
    JeffB wrote:I don't prefer Big Star over many favorite modest, regional taquerias, but it's a huge improvement to the United Center's food offerings. On par with the upgrade represented by Tortas Frontera at O'Hare - though that place is now so well-known that the line is always too long. It's been written up in just about every magazine's and web site's list of best airport food.

    ...

    I have been seeing this a few times and was wondering why. I am not sure that the airport and United Center are dining locations that many visit.

    Just curious...
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #355 - February 1st, 2018, 7:44 pm
    Post #355 - February 1st, 2018, 7:44 pm Post #355 - February 1st, 2018, 7:44 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:I am not sure that the airport and United Center are dining locations that many visit.

    Last year 79.8 million passengers arrived or departed at O'Hare, and 891,827 and 888,882 fans attended regular-season Blackhawks and Bulls games at the UC. I'm sure many of those folks wanted, and got, something to eat while they were there.
  • Post #356 - February 1st, 2018, 7:57 pm
    Post #356 - February 1st, 2018, 7:57 pm Post #356 - February 1st, 2018, 7:57 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:
    Panther in the Den wrote:I am not sure that the airport and United Center are dining locations that many visit.

    Last year 79.8 million passengers arrived or departed at O'Hare, and 888,882 fans attended regular-season Chicago Bulls games at the UC. I'm sure many of those folks wanted, and got, something to eat while they were there.

    It seems to me to be two very different groups...

    Those that are eating in stadiums and airports. This is more of a meal of convenience.

    Those that are seeking out restaurants that excell in Chicago. This is a quest for the best and are willing to drive.

    The comparison just seems odd to me. I have never eaten at the first two.

    I don’t know, maybe I am odd that way?
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #357 - February 1st, 2018, 8:01 pm
    Post #357 - February 1st, 2018, 8:01 pm Post #357 - February 1st, 2018, 8:01 pm
    Maybe. I'm a frequent traveler through O'Hare, and I often get food there (either dine-in or carry-to-the-plane). I seek out the best food, and my most frequent stop by far is Tortas Frontera. And yes, the lines there are frequently long, as JeffB notes (although they're not really a deterrent, at least not for me, since the 15-minute wait for them to prepare the food is usually longer than the wait in line to order it).
  • Post #358 - February 1st, 2018, 10:42 pm
    Post #358 - February 1st, 2018, 10:42 pm Post #358 - February 1st, 2018, 10:42 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:Maybe. I'm a frequent traveler through O'Hare, and I often get food there (either dine-in or carry-to-the-plane). I seek out the best food, and my most frequent stop by far is Tortas Frontera. And yes, the lines there are frequently long, as JeffB notes (although they're not really a deterrent, at least not for me, since the 15-minute wait for them to prepare the food is usually longer than the wait in line to order it).


    Recent pro tip I learned: you can order ahead with an app and skip the line.
  • Post #359 - February 2nd, 2018, 8:45 am
    Post #359 - February 2nd, 2018, 8:45 am Post #359 - February 2nd, 2018, 8:45 am
    Try to avoid all airport food, although it seems to have upped its game in some airports. Don't eat the airline food. I go to Europe at least twice each year and always fly out of O'Hare. I eat somewhere good prior to the flight and then again when I return (in this case I am quite hungry and glad I am not of film when I dig in). Prior to last flight, met a local friend at the Boston Fish Market. On return, Brat Stop Brat with German potato salad. Voila.
  • Post #360 - February 2nd, 2018, 12:54 pm
    Post #360 - February 2nd, 2018, 12:54 pm Post #360 - February 2nd, 2018, 12:54 pm
    It is easy to say I don't eat at airports if I don't have to --- well, who does? But there are good reasons why information on what high-quality food there is available at airports is of interest to frequent flyers, among others. For one thing, sometimes you have to spend a lot more time at an airport than you want to.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

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