Recently we visited the newly opened El Tapeo in Oakbrook on the 9th floor of the Le Meridien Hotel. Our visit was on a Saturday night, the place was full and the vibe was awesome. We entered at the rear of the hotel, headed straight for the elevators up to floor nine. Once we were off of the elevator there were a few short steps to the hostess stand; she immediately greeted us with a smile and thanked us for coming in. The hostess set the tone for our night, she was very warm, unlike some of the hosts you encounter at similar upscale restaurants. We were lucky enough to be there for The Sound Factory, live entertainment with featured artists on Friday and Saturday nights (9p-1a). After greeting us and verifying our reservations (you’ll want to make one) she escorted us over to the bar area to wait while they prepared our table. The bar has a total downtown Chicago vibe, with fashionable people of varying ages, great lighting and gorgeous bartenders.
Although we usually stick to wine, the cocktail program at El Tapeo is impressive; created by a master mixologist the selection and prices are on par with some of the more popular cocktail menus in the city of Chicago. We decided to forgo wine and try a few drinks, the Moscow Mule (sans copper mug), Red Sangria, and a top shelf amaretto concoction were all delicious. They also offer wine along with draft and bottled beers.
OK on to the reason you’re reading this post, THE FOOD. Wow, the food, it was beyond delicious. We ordered a round of starter tapas, followed by a little heavier fair, then ended with an awesome dessert. Here goes:
· Dátiles (fried medjool dates stuffed with almonds & wrapped in bacon)
· Selección de Embutidos (selection of shaved ibérico, serrano, chorizo & fuet)
· Salpicón Cangrejo de Mar (jumbo lump crab, avocado & blood orange)
· Setas (sautéed wild mushrooms & la serena cheese)
· Pollo (free range roasted chicken breast, romesco sauce , toasted almonds & harrisa butter)
· Carne Asada (wagyu skirt steak, arugula, manchego & piquillo pepper)
· Costillas Estofadas (rioja wine, boneless beef short ribs, olive oil potatoes & shallots)
· Coles de Bruselas (brussel sprouts, imberico bacon & sherry gastrique)
· Buñuelos (pineapple fritter, vanilla ice cream & compressed pineapple)
· Golden Beets (a delicious off-menu item)
The El Tapeo experience is like a multi-city vacation on small plates. A trip I’d take over and over again.
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