Food & Drink

The West Loop's Latin dinner party

While the influence of Brazilians is usually felt below the waistline, the chef behind La Sirena Clandestina (who spent time living there and Argentina) plans to increase your waistline himself. He's mixing Latin influences and local ingredients in a rough-edged, open-kitchened room adorned with floorboards taken from an Evanston church and 1940s Toledo chairs and stools for a look that can only be described as... wait for it... Holy Toledo!Start off with street eats like a rotating daily ceviche (with housemade "Saltines", or as they will be known when Nabisco's legal team reads this, housemade "something else other than Saltines"), charred baby octopus escabeche w/ peppers, olives & tomato confit, and black-eyed pea fritters w/ pickled onions and dende-poached shrimp. Then move on to pork loin Milanesa w/ wild mushroom ragu and a fried duck egg, or grilled specialties like a mustard cream-slathered skewered rabbit, which used to come courtesy of Papa Doc until everyone found out he went to Cranbrook (that's a private school!). The cocktail list is deep on Latin spirits like a south-of-the-border interpretation of the Smoking Gun with Mezcal, amaro & lime called the "Pistola Humeante" that's so good, it'll have you ripping out your own hair just to get it.