Salero Spanish Restaurant Opens On Restaurant Row | Tasting Table CHI

Salero brings modern Spanish cuisine to Restaurant Row

Restaurant Row has a sexy little secret named Salero.

The new restaurant from the team behind Lakeview's Wood takes its name from the Spanish word for both "salt shaker" and "charm," and, through both its ambiance and flavorful food, proves that the double entendre is as fitting as it is deliberate.

The space is dim and cozy: There's exposed brick lining one wall, a timber shelf scattered with flickering white candles lining another, and a pair of bold steer horns fixed at the center of a third.

Don't come here expecting tapas, because you won't find it. Instead, the menu is broken into two sections: entradas ("starters") and platos fuertes ("large plates"). This allows for a simpler, more linear dining experience, but does not prevent guests from sharing plates if they feel so inclined.

Chorizo-stuffed quail | Photo: Courtesy of Salero

You may want to keep a few dishes to yourself. Chef Ashlee Aubin's cuisine is sultry, with traditional Spanish flavors bursting from finely crafted modern dishes such as tender, chorizo-stuffed quail ($14) with wilted spinach, pine nuts, sweet golden raisins and small, artfully placed pools of piquillo pepper purée.

Surprisingly, the vegetarian-friendly confit potatoes à la plancha ($23) is one of the best things we tried. Thanks to the synergistic collision of earthy summer truffles; crisp, buttery layers of potato; airy, mousse-like canarejal cheese and a perfectly runny fried egg, a meaty component isn't necessary, let alone missed.

But unrelenting carnivores should look no further than the grilled flat-iron steak ($33). The underrated cut is served with braised onions, mojo rojo and mojo verde, dreamy salt-wrinkled potatoes and a piquillo pepper packed with some of the most succulent oxtail we've ever tried.

For dessert, delicate house-made churros ($10) deserve liberal twirls into whipped salted chocolate, espresso pudding and milk jam.