Traveling around a country is the best way to learn its many culinary traditions, second only to faxing a Q&A to each city’s local food-pyramid bureau. Taste the souvenirs of another’s culinary travels with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of traditional Mexican fare and drinks at La Casa de Samuel.
Chef Samuel Linares accumulated traditional Mexican cooking styles from trekking around his native country, where he gleaned local techniques in Acapulco, Veracruz, Puebla, and other cities. Aside from a classic selection of tacos, tortas, burritos, and grilled piñatas, Linares also adorns the eclectic menu with untraditional platters such as pechuga suprema, a chicken breast stuffed with ham, sour cream, and melted cheese ($10.95). Use two forks or five hook hands to tear apart the parrillada Argentina, which demolishes multiple appetites with a spread of steak, pork chops, short ribs, bull testicles, mexican sausage, and chicken ($39.95). The filete en hoja de mazorca tosses a single fish fillet in a corn leaf with jalapeño and onions ($12.95), and the langostinos al ajillo immerses a school of shrimp in garlic hot sauce ($14.95).
If adventurous eaters are unable to find edible sections of wallpaper, they can sample something from the list of house specialties, which corrals a menagerie of meats such as venison, quail, goat, and rattlesnake ($12.95–$22.95). Keep jaw-powered journeys lubricated with imported beers such as Negra Modelo and Bohemia ($3.75 each) or one of six types of margaritas, including melon, banana, and peach ($6.50+).
La Casa de Samuel
Since its founding in 1989 by chef Samuel Linares, La Casa de Samuel has been filled with the aroma of quail and goat entrees crackling on the grill, handmade tortillas, and freshly brewed coffee infused with cinnamon, landing the eatery a spot on Chicago Magazine's list of Best Mexican Restaurants in 2010. In the dining area, bilingual servers deliver traditional tacos, burritos, and tortas alongside more exotic dishes that Linares perfected during his travels through Mexico, including fish ceviche, marinated venison, and filete oaxaqueño—catfish with cheese tucked inside a banana leaf. From behind the full bar, bartenders sling specialty margaritas, micheladas, and imported brews that diners can pair with nachos or dump over their heads to make it look like they just got caught in a rainstorm.
2834 W Cermak Rd.
Chicago, Illinois 60623