I’m always in search of the next great taco! If you’ve been reading this review for any length of time, you know that I LOVE tacos. And this week, I found some great tacos. Rojo Gusano is located in Ravenswood, at 4217 N Ravenswood Ave. The atmosphere is immediately welcoming, with gorgeous hanging planters, rustic wood tables, cozy couches with colored throw pillows, and warm lighting. We came in around noon on a Saturday and were seated right away. One look at the menu at my mouth was already watering. We knew we had to start with an order of chips and salsa. You can order salsas as a single, pair, or trio. We wanted to try all three! The first is called Arbol: roasted tomatillos, onions, and garlic with toasted peanuts. The second is called Macha: roasted Spanish onions, chile pasilla, chile morita, and chile guajillo. The third is called Cremosa: jalapeño, roasted garlic, and onion smoothed out with avocado and cream cheese. The chips are made in-house and they were absolutely fantastic. They were huge- it almost looked like half of a corn tortilla! They were perfectly salted and wonderfully thick and crispy. I loved the trio of salsas, it was so fun to try all of the varieties. We quickly chose our favorites; I loved the Cremosa and my boyfriend adored the Arbol. Each salsa had such a unique flavor and they were all very tasty. My boyfriend ordered three tacos; the Cochinita, Chicken Tinga, and Arrachera. The Cochinita is pork cooked in an achiote marinade in banana leaves topped with pickled red onions. This had a wonderful flavor! The pork was melt in your mouth and the sharpness of the onions really complimented the rich meat. The Chicken Tinga taco comes topped with chipotle salsa, crema, and queso fresco. My boyfriend ordered his without the crema and cheese. This was very tasty as well! The chicken was very well seasoned and was very juicy. The Arrachera was his favorite of the three: skirt steak, bell pepper, and sautéed onions topped with arbol salsa and cilantro. The steak was so well cooked, it was flavorful and juicy. We both loved the simplicity of the toppings on this one- they complimented the meat without being overpowering. I ordered three tacos as well: Charred Butternut Squash, Pork Belly, and Baja Fish. The Charred Butternut Squash was topped with roasted kale, arbol salsa, and queso fresco. This was marvelous! The butternut squash was mashed, which is so unusual and interesting for a taco. I loved the addition of the roasted kale as well. The Pork Belly had a Tamarindo chipotle salsa, pickled red onions, and cilantro. This was tasty, but I found the pork belly to be a bit lacking. It just didn’t have enough flavor for me. The Baja Fish is topped with chipotle mayo, scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and pickled onions. This was my favorite of the three! The fish was perfectly cooked and the mix of toppings gave it a rich and unique flavor. We will definitely be back!
Rojo Gusano also has another location in Albany Park, located at 3830 W Lawrence Ave. The Ravenswood location is open Sundays through Thursdays from 11:30 am to 10 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 am to 11 pm. Find more information on their website.
RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO