Monday, September 21, 2009

90 Miles

In terms of first impressions, 90 Miles couldn't be better. The atmosphere emanates good vibes as soulful sounds and savory smells fill the air. The back patio is charming and casual with lamps and heat lamps that make it perfect for a summer evening or relaxed lunch. Large colorful murals circle the building, both inside and out, and the place just simply feels cool.

I had some trouble deciding what to order off the menu. The Guajirito - a modification of the jibarito - seemed most interesting, so I went with that. I also tried ordering a platano shake, but they didn't have it. Then I tried ordering the mamey shake, but they didn't have that either. I settled on the mango shake, which had a light mango flavor, lots of dairy, and was surprisingly refreshing. It wasn't thick; on the contrary, it was quite light and almost whipped. I would assume that it was made with much more milk than ice cream.

If you comb through the reviews of 90 Miles, you'll find that more than a few people find the Guajirito greasy. I cannot say I disagree. I will only take it a bit further and say that mine was swimming in grease. Literally, look at the picture below, that is the grease pool that was left in my basket after eating just one half of the sandwich. The pool doubled by the time the second half was done.

The Guajirito fell short. It was bland, super greasy, dripping oil throughout, and could've used more chimichurri. The steak was well done without being chewy, the sauteed onions were excellent, the green plantains made a nice bread replacement, and the minced garlic on top was wonderful. I didn't mind that the sandwich was a bit messy, but I did mind the lack of flavor. More garlic, more chimichurri, and less oil would've significantly improved the sandwich. I appreciate their attempt to avoid a dry sandwich, but this was just taking the moisture angle way too far. Oh, and one more thing, the side of plantain chips that accompanied the sandwich was a bit redundant. A different side would've been favored.

To be honest, 90 Miles has lots to offer outside of their Guajirito. I've had their empanadas, their Cubano, their Media Noche, and their Ropa Vieja - all were delicious. The Guajirito just needs work; it's no reason to avoid their alluring establishment.

Back or Forth? I will be going back.

90 Miles - Logan Square - (773)227-2822 - 2540 W. Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 - Public transportation: the Western stop of the Blue Line or bus 73. (the original location is @ 3101 N. Clybourn Ave, 60618)

Mango shake - $3.50
Guajirito - $6.50

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