Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Big Star vs. Xoco!
Tacos from Big Star (Photo: Grant Kessler)
Rick Bayless tweeted Saturday that his casual Mexican eatery, Xoco, served more than 1,000 diners that day.
The River North resto's been mad busy since debuting in early fall, but now that Paul Kahan's Big Star has opened in Wicker Park, will the lines continue to snarl around the block?!
Both celeb chefs have put their unique spins on these ventures, and even though they're both Mexican focused, that's where the similarities end. In the end, it all depends on what you're looking for:
Early birds will continue to flock to Xoco simply because it opens at 7am Tuesday-Saturday. Plus, they serve a number of Mexican-accented hot chocolate and coffee drinks.
Caldos at Xoco. (Photo: Rick Bayless)
Big Star, on the other hand, will be the destination for late-night revelers as the kitchen stays open until 2am. They're also planning to feature occasional live music acts and deejays from sister spot Danny's Tavern.
On the food frontier, Xoco's menu offers an expansive menu of culinary bites, from breakfast goodies (vanilla sour cream coffeecake!) to tortas, caldos and desserts. Big Star's menu is very streamlined, only offering a short list of specialty tacos, chips and salsa, and the very mouthwatering paletas, or Mexican creamsicles.
And finally, while you'll be able to kick back with wine and Mexican beer at Xoco, Big Star's taking its cocktail program to another level. The Violet Hour's Michael Rubel has put together a list of all-American whiskies, small-batch tequilas, American beers and regional sodas.
A selection of straightforward cocktails is available as well, but as Rubel says, "It's not about the cocktails. It's about the spirits."