Paladar Cuban Restaurant's Ropa Vieja | Chicago

Classic recipes at a new Cuban spot in Logan Square

Jose Gonzales means it when he says he serves his father's chivo at Paladar.

Gonzales' father has clocked substantial time at the new Logan Square Cuban restaurant, teaching the kitchen to cook a proper rendition of his long-simmered goat stew. The saucy hunks of bone-in meat are served on a bed of congri, rice cooked with kidney beans, as is done in Cuba's southern region.

Ropa vieja comes from his mother's hand, and here the braised beef is silky and rich, served with caramelized plantains and white rice ($14), or as an overflowing Cuban slider ($2.50) with grilled onions on a soft bun.

We'll be returning for another Fidel, a piled-high sandwich ($8) of pulled pork, vinegary-sweet barbecue sauce and plantains. Whatever the dish, request an extra side of garlic sauce, a chunky mojo de ajo that accompanies tostones (fried plantains) and is a dream condiment for allium devotees.

A family friend who studied with Cuban cookbook author and television host Nitza Villapol–dubbed "the Julia Child of Cuba"–aided in menu development and staff training. Gonzales promises a new dish of hers will be appearing soon: black beans cooked with apples.

Paladar, 2252 N. Western Ave.;