Selva - Chicago
Billing itself as a "secluded sanctuary on top of The Emily Hotel," Selva is where you want to be on a summer night. There are fantastic cocktails, of course, but also incredibly creative food to make any evening very memorable and special.
Let's start with cocktails. You know the Daquiri, but if you enjoy this classic cocktail, check out Selva's version with Charanda Uruapan blanco (one of the newly arrived Mexican rums), chino passionfruit, and lime, a palate-perking and party-starting sip of wonderfulness. If you like Mexican spirits, you'll like Smoke Show with del Maguey Vida -- a very good mezcal -- Giffard strawberry, Cyan 70, and lemon. The Ekto Cooler is a blast from the past, with Galliano l'autentico, Giffard pamplemousse, basil, and lemon. Of course, if your preferences tend toward beer or wine, there's a carefully curated selection of vino (red, white, sparkling and rose) as well as well as craft beers. To nibble while you imbibe, Selva has a good number of truly exceptional dishes, not fancy though highly creative and deeply satisfying. Take the chips, for instance; you've had chips before, right (?!), but these are served with cape berry salsa, salsa rojo, and guacamole, simply exceptional. With a focus on finger food, Selva has some outstanding taco offerings:, including Mushroom Tinga (radish, cotija), Buffalo Chicken (garlic, cotija), Lamb Barbacoa (onion, cilantro) and duck carnitas (smoked pickled onions, habanero) -- you're likely going to want to order a few of each for your table of merrymakers. Other variations on traditional South of the Border favorites include the Tuna Tostada (chipotle aioli, root salad, orange) and the Pickled Shrimp Ceviche (avocado, red onion, serrano pepper). For heartier appetites, you can't go wrong with the Smash Burger (rajas, pepper jack, smoked pickled onions, achiote aioli). For dessert, a classic, Marquesitas, caramelized pineapple and cherry.