If your table at La Sirena Clandestina isn’t overloaded with dishes, you’re doing something wrong.
John Manion is steering away from multi-part, composed plates at his tiny, gorgeously designed new Fulton Market restaurant. Instead, the reclaimed-wood tables are meant to be loaded with a slew of dishes--grilled, roasted and fried seafood and meat, side dishes and snacks, all united by the flavors of Argentina and Brazil.
Start with pillowy baked empanadas with chimichurri ($3) and a bowl of ceviche ($10), dressed a smoky blend of roasted garlic and charred tomatoes, onions and chiles. Fit a cazuela of provoleta ($8) onto the table, too, an Argentinean staple of broiled Provolone cheese with oregano and red pepper flakes: “pizza without the bullshit,” says Manion.
Whole branzino was a standout from a recent dinner. The fish is coated in manioc flour, fried, and garnished with a piquant, nutty blend of dende oil, lime and carrot-habanero hot sauce ($23). Order garlicky, vibrant green coconut-cilantro risotto ($4) and butter lettuce salad with pepitas, cotija, and poblano vinaigrette ($8) on the side.
There should also be cocktail glasses on the table, filled with Justin Anderson’s bright, refreshing cocktails, like the Papi Chulo with tequila, citrus and Chartreuse, or a spot-on caipirinha.
La Sirena Clandestina, 954 W. Fulton Market; 312-226-5300 or lasirenachicago.com
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