Frontera Grill Review

Hello!  I can’t believe today is only Tuesday, ugh.  Luckily the weather has been awesome so far this week!

Tonight I went to a hot yoga sculpt class which means hot power yoga + weights.  Let me just tell you, I thought I was going to pass out on multiple occasions.  I have never been so happy for shavasana to come in my life.   But, the upside is that it was an awesome workout and I left feeling energized yet totally dead at the same time–if that makes any sense.  Hopefully I will go back at least once before the groupon I am using to a new studio is up.

Still catching up on weekend recap…

We haven’t forgotten about the Seasons 52 review, but my mom is going to do it because she has more of the pictures from the dinner than I do.  Hopefully that will be tomorrow.

So, Saturday during the day my mom and I went to a few kitchen and produce stores in the West Loop.   We got a few good cooking tools and I picked up some produce–although the prices were not as good as I was expecting since I am used to Stanley’s.

We drove around the West Loop looking for somewhere good to go for lunch but didn’t find anywhere that stood out (that was open) so we headed back towards my moms hotel  We decided to try and go to Frontera Grill.  Both of us have heard a lot about Rick Bayless restaurants and I surprisingly had never been to one!  Which seems like sort of a crime especially since there are so many in Chicago.  So even though the wait was over an hour, we decided to leave our name and run over to Nordstrom

When we came back an hour later, we still had to wait for about a half hour before being seated.  Although, word to the wise(r than us), if you want to sit on the bar side, the wait is muchh shorter and it seems to be just as nice with quite a few regular tables and a few waiters as well.  It took us a really long time to figure that out.

When we finally got a table, we started out with guacamole and chips which also came with 2 kinds of salsa


The guacamole was really good and the chips were too.  Homemade Restaurant made tortilla chips are always good in my book.  The red salsa on the left I didn’t really like originally, but it had a smokey taste that really grew on me once I tried it a few times.  The green salsa which I think was a tomatillo salsa was probably my favorite.

Instead of each ordering an entree after this my mom and I decided to split an appetizer, salad and entree.  We figured if it was too much food, I would just take the leftovers home (score!.

After the chips, which we definitely polished off completely, we had the Ensalada Frontera.  I really liked this salad–it kind of reminded me of a caesar salad with a Mexican twist.  It had a pumpkinseed lime dressing and tomatillos and buttery croutons on top.  The tomatillos were actually pretty sweet which I was not expecting.  I bought tomatillos only once to try and make a salsa but I remember them being very bitter/sour.  maybe they just weren’t ripe yet?  These tomatillos were really good! And I’m thinking that my mom or I needs to try and recreate the dressing

Next up was the appetizer that we ordered which was a combo plate including ‘Mexican style’ Quesadillas on the left, taquitos in the middle and ceviche on the right.    The quesadillas were delicious.  Very cheesy with a ton of flavor–quite possibly my favorite thing that I tried here.   Neither my mom or I really liked the taquitos.  We each had one but left the other.  Something about the flavor combination was just a bit strange.  The ceviche was okay, but I didn’t love it.

After this appetizer we were both pretty stuffed.  It took awhile (a really really long while) in between each dish and so I think we had plenty of time to digest and realize that we were full.  Which is probably a good thing, but we were in the restaurant for a very long time.

By the time our entree came, both of us were really too full to eat it.   We each tried a bite and then asked for it to be boxed up.  The entree we had was a queso cazuela which neither of us really realized was just going to be basically a dish full of cheese.

I ended up eating the leftovers the next day (the dish is served with corn tortillas).   For as much as I was pretty unimpressed with it in the restaurant, once I heated the leftovers I ate pretty much the whole thing pretty quickly–it was super flavorful and how can you really go wrong with a huge hunk of melted cheese–answer is that you really can’t.

All in all, I would say our experience at Frontera Grill was okay, and I definitely am glad that I tried it since I had been wondering about it for so long, but I don’t think that it really lives up to the hype.  I know it gets lots of good reviews, so maybe we just had a sub par experience?  I don’t know that the restaurant was worth the super long wait times and while I really liked some of the dishes, I also didn’t like just as many others.  It was just pretty standard Mexican food in my opinion with a much higher price.  Our lunch ended up being more expensive than our dinner at GT Fish and Oyster.  We did order kind of a lot of dishes, but we didn’t even each get our own entree!  To be fair, we did order off the brunch menu which looks a lot smaller than either the lunch or dinner menus.

While we finally realized that we would get a table faster sitting in the bar area, the downside of that was not only had we already waited for the main dining room for almost an hour and a half, but the bar side had only one waiter so the service was veryyy slow.   It wasn’t his fault but he definitely just had way too many tables to handle.

If you do want to try Frontera Grill, I would suggest either coming early or late and do not come at peak hours.

I still really want to try some of Rick Bayless’s other restaurants, especially Xoco, but I’m not sure I would come back to Frontera Grill again.

Frontera Grill on Urbanspoon

Has anyone ever been?  Or any recommendations on the best of the Rick Bayless restaurants?  Where is the best Mexican food you have had from?





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2 Responses to Frontera Grill Review

  1. Meredith

    Looks so good!!

  2. BobnAlabama

    Thank you for your candid review of Frontera Grill. I watch Rick Bayless frequently on PBS, so I’ve always wondered what his restaurant cuisine would be like. Now, I know about one of them!

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