A Fine Mez

Eating Grasshoppers and Drinking Mezcal Downtown

None 3 Photos Mezcalina and Black Coffee Gallery
Tequila, black coffee, string cheese and toasted grasshoppers.

Probably not what one would call a “balanced diet.”

Hmm. We don’t like the sound of that “probably.”

Time to do some seriously in-depth tequila, black coffee, string cheese and toasted grasshopper research.

The lab for that research: Mezcalina, a handsome Oaxacan import slated to soft-open next week in Lakeshore East.

Actually, this is two places. In the front corner, you’ll find Black Coffee Gallery. Think of a Mexican Starbucks with its own direct line to coffee growers. Remember it’s here when you need a strong jolt of espresso before dinner. Or better yet, when you’ve been particularly diligent with investigating their 60-strong mezcal collection.

Once you’re fully alert, you’ll notice that a splendidly colorful restaurant surrounds you, every inch embellished with some sort of artwork. A team of 20 Oaxacan painters was commissioned for the giant murals of village scenes. Basically, it’s like you’re hosting a dinner party in the National Museum of Mexican Art.

The menu hasn’t been totally finalized, but your table will likely be passing around plates of mezcal-tinged lamb barbacoa, garlic-toasted-grasshopper salads, beef tenderloin smothered in mole, mahi-mahi steamed inside tropical leaves and slow-roasted Oaxacan string cheese with tomato/pasilla chili salsa served in a cast-iron skillet with a grasshopper garnish.

Grasshoppers. So versatile.

Elsewhere on the Daddy

More Food in Chicago