Fonda - Evanston
Michael Lachowicz, the French-forward chef behind casual Aboyer and high-end George Trois, surprises us with Fonda, a beautiful Mexican restaurant in Evanston. Drawing upon the team that honed their skills at his other restaurants, Lachowicz is giving his team a chance to shine on a stage of their own.
Fonda fuses the fine dining finesse of Aboyer and George Trois with the laidback deliciousness of Mexican cuisine. Says Eater Chicago, "Fonda is a significant departure from the French fine dining cuisine for which Lachowicz is known. That’s intentional, as the culinary voices featured at Fonda are those of his Mexican-born collaborators and business partners, chef Miguel Escobar, sous chef Carlos Cahue, and wine director Sergio Angel.
On the menu are Mexican favorites with a fine dining flourish. If you're anything like us, you'll want to try some Mexican dishes you've never had before, like Tarascan soup, a pinto bean guajillo soup with tortilla strips, panela cheese, fried guajillo, sour cream, and epazote (a subtle herb that lends flavor and, um, counteracts the beans).
Pescado pibil, a favorite in Mexico's Yucatan region, is adobe-glazed North Atlantic cod, avocado and bean salpicon, pickled red onion, and tomatillo salsa, all to be eaten with warm tortillas.
You'd have a hard time finding a better carne asada in Chicago; at Fonda, the grilled skirt steak is served with charred spring onions, queso Oaxaca stuffed Caribe pepper, salsa Martajada, and, of course, warm tortillas.
Also on the menu is chile relleno dish with a double roasted Caribe pepper stuffed with ground pork and beef, with preserved tomatoes, dried fruits, roasted nuts and a hoja santa mole with toasted pumpkin seeds. "That dish explodes in your mouth," says chef Michael Lachowicz.
If you come to Fonda with tacos on your mind, we recommend the chicharron (spiced pork belly with crispy pork skin, and sliced avocado) and the quesabirria (7 chile braised lamb shoulder, queso Oaxaca, lamb consommé, cilantro, and onion).