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Masa Azul | Tasting notes

The Logan Square spot brings on a new chef.

 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
1/5
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Masa Azul

 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
2/5
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Cochinita at Masa Azul:Yucatan-braised pork, pickled red onion, habanero salsa

 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
3/5
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Lola cocktail at Masa Azul:Corazon Blanco, Todd Appel grapefruit cordial,grapefruit, Stiegl Radler

 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
4/5
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Tacos de champig´┐Żon at Masa Azul: ancho-roasted mushrooms,tomatillo salsa and queso fresco

 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
5/5
Photograph: Erica Gannett

Autumn cocktail at Masa Azul:Hacienda de Chihuahua Sotol Anejo, tart cherry, allspice, citrus, Chicago Old Town Spiced Sugar

Smart move, Masa Azul, picking up the up-and-coming chef Jonathan Zaragoza, whose family owns Birrieria Zaragoza. This guy makes tremendously juicy cochinita pibil (braised pork settled into fresh tortillas and brought to life with a drizzle of habanero salsa) and puts considerable care into a chunky, complex roasted-tomatillo salsa. Shareable snacks like these are perfect for Masa Azul, which I’ve always felt would do itself a favor to err on the bar side of bar/restaurant. That’s due to its fascinating collection of tequila and mescal and to the cocktails Jenny Kessler creates from them, which are mostly excellent (the refreshing Lola, served with a Stiegl Radler) and occasionally ham-fisted (the Autumn, heavy-handed with spices). Though the proteins in the entrées (salty steak, bland quail) were of little interest compared to their accompaniments (roasted peppers and a chorizo-breaded Scotch egg, respectively), it was worth sticking around for dessert, light and crispy twirls of churros that ended an uneven meal on solid footing. 2901 W Diversey Ave (773-687-0300, masaazul.com).

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