Tabu Restaurant – Quite The Different Dining Experience

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If you have not been to Tabu yet, you are missing out on quite the eclectic dining experience. Tabu (401 N. Morgan Street, Chicago) breaks from tradition with Pan-Latin-inspired cuisine and cocktails, in a unique and eclectic West Loop space. 

The Madonna Mural on the front door of Tabu

Downstairs pop culture murals

Executive Chef Saúl Román, a Cuernavaca, Mexico native with years of experience in Mexico City, defies culinary classification delivering vibrant dishes that draw influence from the cuisines of Mexico, Spain, Colombia and more. 

Main dining room

Besides an amazing food menu, Tabu offers an extensive and impressive beverage program, which boasts one of Chicago’s largest collections of mezcals and tequilas. 

I absolutely fell in love with Tabu’s dinner menu. It had an incredibly diverse selection of dishes, while just reading the menu descriptions made my guest and I salivate. 

Tabu’s incredible tequila and mezcal bar

Tabu also had beautiful interiors, both classy and playful, complete with colorful murals and pop artwork on the walls. It gave off a subtle, yet fun vibe. Against another wall uwas the inviting cocktail lounge. Even more impressive was the ceiling in the main dining room, which had thousands of individually cut ropes. Tabu apparently had put a lot of thought into the overall design and acoustics. Even as the evening went on, the music and volume inside did not increase. 

Tabu offers an impressive beverage menu

The food and drinks were definitely different from some restaurant dishes I have sampled recently. Our server with the cherry earrings, Jessica, was also fantastic during our meal. She was welcoming and very knowledgeable regarding the menu items. 

Lobster Flautas

Our meal started with crunchy, warm house made tortilla chips and an unusual salsa trio (Chicharrones Manzano, Jicama Pineapple Habañero, Pumpkin Seed Romesco). We also inhaled delicious Lobster Flautas with crispy lobster taquitos, smoked gouda, lime serrano crema, red cabbage). 

House-made tortilla chips and salsa trio

Another adventurous dish for me was Grilled Octopus (Crispy Forbidden Rice, Manchamanteles, Grilled Pineapple, Charred Lime). It was my first time trying octopus and it was definitely a different taste altogether. I was proud of myself for trying it, but it was not quite my preferred type of seafood to eat. 

Grilled Octopus

Our starters were paired with creative, refreshing cocktails called Eden (Grey Goose Watermelon Basil, Yuzu, Lemon, Pink Peppercorn, Rose Water) and Romancing the Stone (Milagro Blanco, Mezcal, Pineapple, Lime, Tepache, Scrappys Firewater). 

Truffle Gnocchi Tacos

As though we were not full enough, more amazing dishes came our way to sample. I ordered the savory and creamy Truffle Gnocchi Tacos (Chiodini Mushrooms, Truffle Cream Sauce, Crispy Leeks, Hand-pressed Tortilla), which was Italian food in ya taco, while my guest consumed Pork Pozole Ramen (Braised Pork Shank, Radish, Red Cabbage, Hominy, Guajillo Pork Broth, Boiled Egg). He raved about the dish’s deep, savory pork and how tenderly it was cooked (meat came right off the bone). 

Pork Pozole Ramen

Our dessert, the Tres Leches Bread Pudding, was a showstopper of flavors including Almond Crumble, Rompope Ice Cream and Guava. Everything was wonderfully balanced in this dish, from the sweet and salty notes to bitterness of the ice cream. 

Tres Leches Bread Pudding

Another nice component of Tabu was the diversity of the diners. People of all different ages, genders and ethnicities were all eating under one roof. I always enjoy eating at a dining establishment where all different kinds of people are eating and appreciating great food and drink together. Tabu is a perfect spot for this experience. Dine here and enjoy!

Photos: Jennifer Lunz

For full menu offerings, diners can visit the website to learn more.

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