Last night, I met an old director of mine at Las Palmas for dinner. The reservations were easy to make via www.opentable.com. I got there a bit early and was sucked into one of my favorite Bucktown stores, Akira, where I proceeded to buy a cute orchid colored dress for graduation! At 7pm, I walked across the street to meet my former colleague.
We decided to sit in the back room of the restaurant where I’d definitely recommend sitting. The room is completely encased in glass similar to a greenhouse. There’s also a little outdoor patio with heat lamps that will be perfect once the weather warms up just a bit more. Our authentically Hispanic waiter took our drink order and guacamole to start. When my peach mojito arrived, it had an excellently refreshing taste and wasn’t too sweet with just a hint of peach flavoring. My colleague’s margarita arrived in a short and stout glass mug that resembles ones you’d see in Mayan Mexico.
The chunky guacamole ($7) was delicious with just the right amount of lime, cilantro and salt seasonings. The salsa was also excellent with a balanced blend and went perfectly with the crispy corn tortilla chips. A Mexican singer strummed his guitar in the background as we discussed the latest happenings of the friends we had in common. Our Carne Asadas ($19) arrived quickly and beautifully presented on a thin long white platter.
There are two dishes I use to evaluate any good Mexican joint – fish tacos and carne asada. Unfortunately, Las Palmas was out of their signature tacos but the carne asada was a delicious choice. The 8 oz grilled skirt steak was topped with cubes of sweet plantains, roasted potatoes and yucca. The dish was drizzled with two sauces: a green jalapeno-cilantro pesto and a red poblano pepper salsa. The meat was tender and cooked medium-rare. Admittedly, it was a little difficult to cut with my butter knife so I switched over to the steak knife halfway through the dish. The portions were sizeable and not so large that you feel like you are gorging on a huge chunk of meat. I still wasn’t quite able to finish the whole slab though I really wanted to.
I’m sure I will be back in the summertime when the back patio is open for seating.
1835 W. North Ave.