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La Sierra--Ecuadoran

La Sierra--Ecuadoran
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  • La Sierra--Ecuadoran

    Post #1 - November 9th, 2005, 10:53 am
    Post #1 - November 9th, 2005, 10:53 am Post #1 - November 9th, 2005, 10:53 am
    Not that much to say, but FWIW:

    La Sierra is at roughly 1630 W. Montrose, directly across the street from Angel Food. A very nice bright storefront. The menu is divided into the Mex. half and the Ecuadoran half. The Mex. half has all the usual suspects. The Ecuadoran half didn't actually seem all that different. They do offer a snapper treatment (mrkt. price) and fried corvina. And there is a half chicken al carbon.

    I went for the seco de chivo as the most exotic seeming dish listed. It was a quite good, but very simple stew; what I imagine the Irish would make, if Ireland were in South America.

    Generous hunks of tender meat, some attached to bone, most boneless. Perhaps a trifle more aggressively flavored than a stew made with chuck, but not that much more. Two large hunks of potato. A tasty stewing liquid. The menu described the dish as made with "white" beer. I don't know if they really meant lager style, or something more arcane that I'm not familiar with. White rice. $10.50.

    Chips were served with a large bowl of pico de gallo-esque condiment. Lost of onion, tomato and jalapeno in a clear liquid. More a relish than a salsa.

    The boy wanted guac. so we ordered it. The avocado was fully mashed to creaminess, but texture was supplied by lots of tomato and onion folded in. Very generous portion for $6.

    Service was friendly and the place was very clean and well kept. If I lived nearby I'd certainly drop in to try the fish and chicken, but I didn't discover anything to make me go out of my way to explore the rest of the menu, not did I get a picture of how Ecuadoran cooking relates to that of other Latin countries'.

    I'd love to know what other restaurants/cultures do with seco de chivo, or what anyone else knows about Ecuadoran food.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #2 - November 9th, 2005, 11:38 am
    Post #2 - November 9th, 2005, 11:38 am Post #2 - November 9th, 2005, 11:38 am
    Here's a modest thread on some Ecuadorano on or near Irving, the main street of the cuisine here in Chicago. ... ght=ciudad

    I am a big fan of seco de chivo, chaulafan (from chow-fun, Andean-Chinese fried rice w/ seafood and vienna sausages) and the generally underappreciated cuisine of Ecuador. It really is a melting pot of indigenous American and European (including lots of Italian) foods with a helping of Chinese, Japanese and African. If you like Bahian moqueca and you see something described as "encocado" at an Ecuadorian place, get it.

    It is difficult to figure out where the cuisine of Peru ends and that of Ecuador begins, however.

    The US Ecuadorian community has much more than its fair share of good cooks, too. Many work the kitchens in high-end places in Chicago and NYC. The multilingual host at Sabatino's is also from Ecuador, I believe one of the owners mentioned.
  • Post #3 - July 7th, 2008, 5:52 am
    Post #3 - July 7th, 2008, 5:52 am Post #3 - July 7th, 2008, 5:52 am
    I ended up here for dinner with my Dad yesterday. We were too early for Mixteco Grill's 5 pm open, and when we walked down the street to Glenn's, they were caught up with shooting for Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and gave us a gift certificate to go away and come back some other time... So we headed back and Mixteco still wasn't open and we decided to give La Sierra a shot.

    I didn't remember this pair of posts here, so I thought I'd be planting an LTH flag. Now that I find them, I find I don't have much to add beyond what mrbarolo posted. I was about to order the seco de chivo myself, but then my dad and I decided to share the parillada. It comes with steak, chicken, sausage, pork chops and ribs. (What do you call the cut when the rib meat is cut more like a steak across the rib bones, leaving just small discs of bone in?) A bounty of grilled meat, we both ate well and I still brought almost a third of it home.

    The meat was cooked correctly and flavorful, except maybe the steak, which was just not a very good cut. The chicken was juicy and the sausage was excellent. Not a whole lot of smoke/grill flavor, but I still enjoyed it. We were offered a choice of salad or rice and beans. The salad was a humble thing of mostly shredded iceberg with a few tomato and avocado slices and grocery store salad dressing brought to the table. It might have been nice to have more than tortillas with the meal itself to counter the meat, meat, meat... although I'm ultimately a dedicated carnivore and it was more my Dad's concern than mine.

    Regarding the condiment, I'd stop short of calling it pico de gallo-esque, as there were no tomatoes to be seen in ours. In any case, it was decently spicy and I liked it. The chips were fresh and good.

    It's a cute restaurant inside, with ebulliently friendly hosts ("This is your home!"). They kindly indulged my request for a small sampler of the peanut sauce which is part of many of the recipes. It tasted fine, predominantly like peanut butter, although there were small bits of green onion in there and a strong yellow cast from I know not what source. It didn't particularly compliment the grilled meat, but might be fine on a dish where it's normally used. If the dish were swimming in it, things might end up seeming kind of monotonous.

    Not a destination, but a potentially worthy place for the neighborhood, and their posted hours are 10 am - 10 pm every day, so if you too find yourself too early for Mixteco, it's right there.

    La Sierra‎
    1637 W Montrose Ave
    Chicago, IL 60613
    (773) 549-5538
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement