Food & Drink

A Cuban rum bar in Logan Square

A good restaurant does everything it can to make you feel at home, but not at your home, as you don't need anyone to create a killer sauce from ketchup and mustard for you. Fortunately, the folks behind Paladar have modeled their rum bar after the Cuban practice of restaurants being run out of a family house, decking it with their own generations-old family photos, communal tables made of old floorboards, and, in a nod to a wedding tradition, a wall of mismatched plates.

Guests love snacks, so they've loaded up on slow-cooked ropa vieja sliders, empanadas stuffed w/ guava & cream cheese, family recipe corn fritters, and papa rellenas -- deep-fried whipped potatoes filled with ground beef, as potatoes apparently have mad enmity for the earth they were pulled from. After those comes Cuban-style pork that's marinated for 24hrs before being roasted for another five, and habanero-spiced goat stew known as chivo, while anyone arriving post-dinner from the nearby Congress Theater will find late-night bites like Havana-style nachos w/ plantain & black beans, thankfully not a horribly conceived Rowan Atkinson BET vehicle.

As for those rums, there are more than 20 premium varieties that can be had neat, or mixed into a mojito made with sugarcane that's squeezed out in-house, thankfully not through a process akin to the one you employ at yours.