Being parents of a 13-month old doesn’t offer us the ability to have a night out on the town with our friends very often. We try our best to see our close friends as often as we can, but sometimes that’s just not as possible as we’d like. Thankfully we both have parents that are willing to watch our daughter while we head into the city to check out new restaurants and have a few drinks with the people that mean the most to us.
We had made plans this past Saturday night to head into the Wrigleyville area and have dinner at Low Country, a seafood boil-type restaurant where you pick a bunch of seafood, they cook it up with a bunch of different spices, and then dump it on your table for you to eat. We’ve been to Angry Crab (which I just realized I never wrote about), and everyone seemed to love it. I’m not a huge seafood person, but the chicken fingers were amazing (post coming soon).
This plan had been in the works all week until that Saturday morning when our friend realized that there was a home Cubs game that started at 3PM. This would have meant that the game would be ending between 6-7PM, and Low Country right near Wrigley Field… which would have been a nightmare since it was so nice out. Because of that we decided to try and find somewhere else to go.
Our first thought was that we should check out one of the other seafood boil places that have recently opened, mainly The Boiler in Skokie, but we figured that we could probably bring our daughter to The Boiler another time, and since we had a babysitter this night, we should probably make the most of it.
Our friends just recently moved into a new apartment in downtown Chicago and have wanted us to come down and check it out. And amazingly enough, a brand new sit-down taco pub had just opened up right next door to their building only 2 days before called Broken English.
Broken English Taco Pub Chicago
We made a reservation for 7PM through Open Table, and made our way downtown. After getting a tour of our friends’ new apartment building and having a couple pre-drinks, we made our way downstairs and literally right next door to Broken English. The place is extremely new, having only opened for Cinco de Mayo, so I don’t think the word has gotten out quite yet. We were immediately seated in a comfy booth along the back wall and it seemed like almost all of the other tables in the restaurant were filled up, but it wasn’t crowded to the point where it was overflowing. It’s not a super large restaurant, so if/when it gets really crowded I could see the bar area overflowing into the seating area, but on Saturday night we were perfectly fine.
The ambiance and decor inside makes you feel like you are in a taco pub in Mexico City… or at least that’s what we were told. We had to take their word for it since none of us have been to a taco pub in Mexico City, but we definitely found the atmosphere to be exactly what we were looking for. It’s small, on the darker side once the sun goes down, and our little booth in the back made it feel very intimate and was perfect for our group of five.
Our service was incredible throughout the entire night, we never felt neglected. Our server was always attentive, always asked if we needed anything else, and was extremely friendly. When we found out that he had been there since 9am (it was almost 9pm at that point), and we were his last table, we insisted that he closed us out and went home. He left us in the capable hands of Mike, who continued to check on us for the next hour or so even though we never ordered anything more and just hung out talking and finishing our drinks.
Elotes, Hushpuppies and Margaritas
The first thing we did when we sat down (after glancing at the menu of course) was to order a pitcher of margaritas and some appetizers. For our appetizers we decided to go with the Grilled Elote with a spicy cheese fondue and the Street Corn Hushpuppies with poblana crema… we also got chips at salsa.
The chips and salsa were pretty good, but the red salsa was way too spicy for my taste. The green salsa, however, was much tamer and perfectly complimented our meal throughout the night.
I’ve never had Street Corn Hushpuppies or Grilled Elote, but seeing as how I’m trying to get this site back into a rhythm, I had to try both of them.
The Grilled Elote came on the cob, two of them, bathing in a sea of spicy cheese fondue, but seeing as how there were five of us, we couldn’t just pick them up and take a bite and pass the cob around. I mean, I guess we could have, we definitely shared our tacos with one another later in the night, but we decided the best thing to do would be to just cut the corn off the cob and spoon it on to each plate.
I thought the Elote was good, the spicy cheese fondue does have a bit of a kick to it, but not nearly as spicy as the red salsa so it was tolerable for sure. In all honesty it just kinda tasted like creamy corn… which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I thought there might be a little more to it. Definitely not bad though and I’m sure it’s one of the more popular appetizers.
Keeping with the theme of corn based appetizers, the Street Corn Hushpuppies were next up, and these were delicious. While it is still just corn with some sauce, these, I believe, are deep fried and have a sort of breaded coating on the outside. They were very creamy and very tasty. If you’re looking for an appetizer I won’t knock either of the ones we chose, but I would recommend that you try the Hushpuppies.
Now for the tacos.
I’ve written about tacos before from places like Big Star in Wicker Park and Taco Diablo in Evanston, so I had an idea of what sort of tacos we were going to be ordering here. There are nine different types of tacos on the menu and we tried all but three of them. They offer a family style taco tray which allows you to order any 12 tacos for $38, which will definitely save you money in the long run if everyone is ok sharing the different tacos. You do have to order them in pairs though, so you can’t order just 1 taco of a certain type, but that’s fine because all of the tacos were amazingly delicious. So delicious in fact that we ended up order two family style taco trays for the five of us.
We tried the Tinga De Pollo with orange crema and cilantro, the Pork Belly Al Pastor with charred pineapple and cilantro, the Carne Asada grilled steak with charred green onion and chile de arbol ginger, the Grilled Swordfish with salsa verde and red cabbage slaw, the Al Pastor de Pollo split roasted chicken marinated in chile guajillo, charred pineapple and cilantro, and finally the Carnitas confit of pork with salsa verde and cilantro.
I did not try every single taco that we got, but all of them went over so well that I think there may have only been one or two tacos left on the tray at the end of the night, and that was just cause everyone was so full. But as for the ones I did try, the Carne Asada and the Al Pastor, I think the Pork Belly Al Pastor was definitely my favorite of the group, followed closely by the Carne Asada. I think the consensus between the group was that the Carne Asada, both Al Pastor (chicken and pork) and the Carnitas were everyone’s favorites. So if you want a sure fire thing, check out those three tacos.
I can’t complain about anything regarding our experience at Broken English Taco Pub in Chicago. The food was amazing, our service was amazing, the prices are very reasonable, especially for that area, and we had an amazing time. I know our friends that live next door will be back quite a bit after our experience Saturday night, and I’m hoping that we get to make it down there again soon. There were definitely some kids in there, didn’t see any really young babies, but during the day, early evening, I would say this place is just fine to bring a child to.