Nacional 27: March 4, 2008

I have seen heaven.
Through the doors of Nacional 27, through the eyes of my beautiful Christopher Reeve-clone server, through the goggles of my margarita flight-induced haze.
I just had the most spectacular meal of my six-month stint in Chicago. On par with many restaurant experiences I had while living in New York, Nacional 27 has it all.
I’m rarely impressed with a restaurant immediately when I walk in, but my mouth hung open at the beauty of the airy, circular dining room, the artfully chosen lighting and even the nondescript hightop bar tables made sophisticated when draped with black fabric.

My mom and I always grab tapas and drink till we drop when I’m home in Kansas City, so I thought a little Latin American flavor would be nice for our night out together last weekend.
To drink, she had a mojito flight; I tried the margarita flight. If I were doing it over, I’d just have 14 of the originals. Mid-shelf tequila balanced with a wonderful Grand Marnier flavor on top made it one of the better margaritas I’ve had in a while. (Cesar’s Killer Margs are great and all, but this was just a few notches out of their league!)
We split an apple and chorizo salad for appetizer, perfectly dressed with a creamy, garlicky sauce. The chorizo was sliced into thin, smoky strips with apples cut to match.
By the time our entrees came, I thought life could get no better, but I knew I was wrong as soon as I sampled one of the sweet plantains that came with my skirt steak. My mom had the signature tapas platter — the highlight was a divine shrimp skewer — and finished the whole thing. I wanted desperately to polish off my steak but had absolutely no room left. This meal truly exceeded all expectations I had.

On future visits, I’ll skip dessert (it was just meh) and go for my 15th original margarita instead. And maybe after that, I’ll actually be brave enough to stick around for dancing some Friday or Saturday night.

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