Chicago Magazine, November 2004
"The 20 Very Finest Restaurants in Chicago"
#4 Topolobampo/Frontera Grill
By Dennis Ray Wheaton
After a decade of praising Rick Bayless’s two restaurants to high heavens, I’ve run out of words. Simply put, Frontera Grill’s superb Mexican delights such as a tongue-jolting stew of grilled shrimp and corn two ways (posole and roasted sweet corn) in guajillo-shrimp broth, or the breathtaking caramel flan infused with apple mintcan’t be topped. Well, that’s not quite true. Frontera’s more elegant twin, Topolobampo, which soars like the Sierra Madre, is the one place that can outdo it. With spectacular authenticity, Bayless demonstrates nightly why Mexican is one of the world’s great cuisines. Just try his robust marinated dried ancho chiles stuffed with Oaxacan chorizo and potatoes in tart red onion and carrot escabeche, or his delicate lime-marinated and sautéed sable on roasted tomatoes and güero chiles with sweet plantain budin. Feeing ho-hum about margaritas? Sip one make with smoky Don Amado mescal and Peychaud bitters or, better yet with Bayless’s food, a light red 1996 Mexican L.A. Cetto Nebbolino from Baja California.
©2004 Chicago Magazine