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El Che Bar

El Che Bar
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  • El Che Bar

    Post #1 - September 13th, 2016, 12:37 pm
    Post #1 - September 13th, 2016, 12:37 pm Post #1 - September 13th, 2016, 12:37 pm
    We went with 3 people on Sunday, 7pm - it's been open about a month. It wasn't busy, so we were able to be very relaxed in our pace.

    The room is dark, perhaps so you can really see the fire hearth in the back. There is seating near there, it might be a good place to be in winter.

    To start we had cocktails and sparkling wine - I thought a rosemary garnish overwhemed the drink it was in, my companions did not.

    It never fails, they were out of the first bottle of wine we ordered. The sommelier helped us find something else, which we enjoyed. We're not hugely familiar with Argentine wines, so the help was appreciated.

    Having 3 people, we were able to sample a good cross-section of the items. We had a salad (didn't realize it was really a salad) of "Arugula, crispy pork shoulder, blackberries, kohlrabi, creole mustard vinaigrette" - the crispy pork shoulder is pulled pork floss, used kind of as croutons, and there were maybe 3 total blackberries. It was tasty, though the arugala was quite mild. Next was "Morcilla, sweet corn puree, summer succotash." Again, we all enjoyed it. It wasn't very funky, as blood sausage goes, and had a fairly firm texture. We absolutely loved the "BBQ quail, escarole, peaches" - there were about 3 total quail, the peaches were perfect end of season fruit. The escarole was very salty, though. It had absorbed all the salt, I guess, because the rest of the dish was not salty at all. And of course we had to get grilled beef - "18oz ny strip steak, blue cheese butter, madeira sauce." It was sliced, so we were easily able to share. We also got a side of "Ash roasted potato “fugazetta” caramelized onion, gruyere, onion jus" which was really tasty too - oniony and cheesy but not gummy or greasy.

    We were absolutely full, yet had to get the dessert called "Fire Cake" which was essentially a sophisticated S'More that they light on fire at the table. We also were given glasses of lovely pink sparkling dessert wine.

    The service was good, and because it was not crowded we didn't notice it being too noisy - we had no trouble having a conversation.

    Definitely will return.

    El Che Bar
    845 W. Washington Blvd. Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 265-1130

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  • Post #2 - November 11th, 2017, 10:19 am
    Post #2 - November 11th, 2017, 10:19 am Post #2 - November 11th, 2017, 10:19 am
    Visited pre-Bulls game last night and was very impressed. Interestingly, this used to be a Checker Taxi building and from what I understand, the front of the restaurant was reformatted from a garage entrance to a large window. Overall, I found the decor striking, including the bathroom (men's at least). Just beware: soap & lotion in the bathroom (I like, you may hate).

    But on to the food, first from the snacks portion of the menu. The empanadas with kale and gruyere were fine. The crust was nice, the filling too, but I wouldn't say it knocked my socks off. Better in my opinion was the fugazetta which included provolone, sauteed onions and sliced olives. I'd absolutely order this again.

    From the small plates section of the menu, the head on prawns in mojo de ajo with lemon were delicious. Four perfectly cooked prawns, briny and delicious.

    I also loved the grilled chorizo with charred shishitos, onions and a white bean puree. This was perhaps my favorite dish of the night. I suspect they're making their own chorizo, a Spanish-style chorizo, but a softer sausage perhaps slightly more akin to the texture of a hot dog than to the Spanish chorizo I'm used to. The flavor was terrific and the components of the dish were all terrific. Not that it makes a difference, but the sausage, shishitos and onions are cut large (or whole in the case of the shishitos) in a way that makes it impractical to eat all together, so eating each with the white bean puree, if you choose, is the way to go. I just enjoyed it all.

    The grilled beef short ribs with chimichurri were also terrific. Nicely charred and chewy, a bright chimichurri, just what I was hoping for.

    From the vegetable section of the menu (can't say I don't eat my vegetables now!), we had the charred carrots in poblano vinaigrette with cotija cheese and toasted pepitas. This was fine yet unremarkable. The carrots weren't particularly charred, and the sauce was fine but didn't excite me. Part of the problem for me is that I've had so many great charred carrot dishes lately (including a couple the night before at Green City Market's Mostly Veggie affair and the previous week at Boka) and this just paled in comparison. So it's not that I didn't like it, I just wasn't excited by it.

    For dessert, we shared the S'more icebox cake which featured graham cracker ice cream, dark chocolate semifreddo, toasted marshmallow and milk chocolate crunch. My friend wanted this, and while I thought it sounded boring (I tend to think of s'mores as a simple, summer bbq dish), I loved it. The graham cracker ice cream was unique, the dark chocolate flavor wonderful, and the flavors perfectly balanced. I was shocked how much I enjoyed this.

    Service was terrific from the moment we walked in the door. And I enjoyed the couple cocktails I had before dinner (gin & tonic and a sour cocktail I can't recall) including the service at the bar (a good spot to eat too). Overall, a really nice spot with some delicious food including some more unique items for the area.
  • Post #3 - May 9th, 2019, 7:20 am
    Post #3 - May 9th, 2019, 7:20 am Post #3 - May 9th, 2019, 7:20 am
    My wife and I had an unforgettable experience at El Che steakhouse in the west loop. We reserved the chef’s counter seats and selected the tasting menu to celebrate my wife’s birthday. El Che had been on our list for awhile but always got pushed aside in favor of another restaurant for various reasons. We are both so glad we finally made it here and I can’t recommend this place enough.

    We did but know what to expect when we booked the chef’s counter seats, but it turned out to be a 3.5 hour private dining experience with Chef Manion as our server, storyteller and friend. Chef Manion brought us each delicious plate and explained not only what it was but the story behind it. Chef was so passionate about his food that his stories made every bite taste that much better. If you are looking for a unique and unforgettable dining experience, consider the chef’s counter at el Che and you will not be disappointed.

    845 W Washington Blvd
    Chicago, IL 60607
    (312) 265-1130
  • Post #4 - January 11th, 2022, 9:03 pm
    Post #4 - January 11th, 2022, 9:03 pm Post #4 - January 11th, 2022, 9:03 pm
    Visited pre-Bulls game last Friday night.

    Really enjoyed a number of items.

    Steak Tartare served with egg yolk & w/potato chips cooked in beef fat. We usually prefer some bread with our steak tartare, we found the chips a bit overwhelming. The tartare was excellent quality. Would order again.

    Oysters - grilled with smoked onion aioli, bacon, & bits of beef fat fried chips. Everything was a bit overwhelming to the oyster but didn't matter, the whole thing was a delicious bite.

    Mrs Willie & I split the 12oz "Picanha" sirloin cap cooked over the big huge wood burning hearth and wowsa was this an excellent cut, fat cap was well salted and sirloin was packed with flavor, a terrific cut of beef, easily one of the best I've had out in quite awhile.

    Enjoyed a side of broccolini w/salsa criolla and crispy fried shallots.

    Cocktails were top notch, enjoyed so much that we had a second round at the bar before leaving for the game. Service was excellent w/o being overbearing
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.