I finally got a chance to check out Big Star when we were in Chicago last month. It’s been on my list forever to grab lunch and I just hadn’t been able to get around to it. It is brought to you by the same executive chef that own Avec, Blackbird, The Publican, etc.
This place has a very similar vibe to Bakersfield here in town—the menu is very taco-focused with a couple of other options. We started with guac and chips and some margaritas. The guac was also similar to Bakersfield—quite lime-centered, which I have no problem with. The chips were pretty standard as was the margarita—I think maybe a top shelf version might be the way to go here. Or the La Paloma cocktail my friend had was better too.
I enjoyed the tacos. My favorite was the fried fish taco ($4)—a big tender chunk of beer battered tilapia, which was super hot and super crunchy. It was topped with cabbage, red onion and cilantro and had chipotle mayo on the tortilla under the fish. I enjoyed the freshness of the cabbage and onions and it had just the right amount of the mayo so you could taste it in every bite. We ended up getting a second one of these.
The chorizo with poblano and Serrano chiles, fried potatoes, onions and salsa verde ($4) was hubby’s favorite (and a close second for me). The sausage is housemade and the taco itself is more uniquely flavored to many I have had. I liked the crunchy, salty potatoes and the kick from the peppers. The chorizo had a great flavor.
The chicken taco ($3) was also interesting because of some slightly more unique flavors—the chicken was marinated dark meat with roasted red salsa, yogurt, cucumber, queso fresco and pickled red onions. You know I liked this one because there were pickled red onions. Plus I really liked the tangy yogurt and freshness from the cucumber.
The most standard one, and probably my least favorite that I tried was the al pastor taco ($3) with the spit roasted pork, grilled pineapple, onions, and cilantro. Maybe it was just a little too dry. It helped to add a little salsa to the top from the bottles on the table (there was red and green and both were good—with just enough heat).
It’s a crazy busy place with a big patio (on the day we were there it was pretty cold still, but yet people sat out there anyway). I enjoyed it for a quick lunch before hitting my favorite shoe store and because we are often in that neighborhood while in Chicago, we might try it again. Not sure I would go out of my way for it, but it hit the spot for lunch.
1531 N Damen
Chicago, IL 60622