Tabu, the newest addition to the Atomic Hospitality portfolio, opens Friday, May 20 at 401 N. Morgan Street in Chicago. Tabu brings a fresh take on Latin cuisine and craft cocktails in a unique and eclectic West Loop space.
“We wanted to create a concept that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but delivers on amazing food and cocktails in a cool atmosphere,” said Pepe Fernandez, general manager at Tabu.
Executive Chef Saúl Román, a Cuernavaca, Mexico native with years of experience in Mexico City (and previously of Chicago restaurants Zocalo and Artango Steakhouse) defies culinary classification delivering vibrant dishes that draw influence from the cuisines of Mexico, Spain, Colombia, and more. Guests will be tempted with starters like Román’s decadent Lobster Flautas, made with smoked gouda, red cabbage and lime serrano crema, Grilled Octopus made with crispy Forbidden Rice, manchamanteles (a rich sauce that cheekily translates to “tablecloth stainer”), grilled pineapple, and charred lime and the appropriately named Queso Fundido Supremo, made to evoke a Supreme Pizza with a Latin twist.
Chef Saul was able to color outside the lines with his playful takes on tacos, including a Shrimp Po’ Boy, Korean Sticky Mushroom, and the Que-FC fried chicken taco with tamarind gravy, aji amarillo aioli. Chef Saul’s tortillas are hand-pressed, an artform he’s perfected over the years.
Tabu offers a dynamic array of dishes, including salads, mains, and desserts. They highly recommend that guests leave room for the Churroulette, an assortment of housemade churros for the table, but in true Tabu fashion one of these churros will be laced with habanero. Guests can also play with fire by indulging one of Tabu’s four housemade hot sauces varying in spice from their Gringo Serrano to the Beso del Diablo, which is made from habanero, arbol, and ghost peppers.
Tabu’s food offerings were designed to pair perfectly with its tantalizing beverage program, which is set to boast the largest collection of Mezcals and Tequilas in Chicago. Guests can try one of their many agave flights, enjoy showpiece cocktails like the whimsical (and blue glitter embellished) Tijuana Unicorn Show, which features Creyente Mezcal, lemon, and prickly pear. Other spirits will also get their time to shine with cocktails like the Unholy Water, featuring Havana Club Rum, and the Sunrise over Jalisco, Tabu’s take on a deconstructed Tequila Sunrise. They will also have an creatively curated wine list, hyper focused on Pan-Latin varietals, as well as a selection of draft and bottled beers.
Tabu’s interiors combine a certain sophistication and playfulness, with a ceiling adorned with nearly 10,000 individually cut ropes, enigmatic pop art murals, and a sunken cocktail lounge that begs you to order just one more round.
Tabu has plans to expand the concept this summer with the addition of an 8,000 square foot rooftop popup with stunning views of the City’s skyline.
Tabu is located at 401 N. Morgan St., in the West Loop with 160 seats in the restaurant and lounge. Tabu will be open Tuesday and Wednesday 4pm to 12am, Thursday and Friday from 4pm to 2am, Saturday from 4pm to 3am, and Sunday from 4pm to 10pm. Reservations for Tabu can be made via OpenTable. For more information, visit www.Tabuchicago.com.
Featured Image Credit: Tabu