Masa Azul | Tasting notes

The Logan Square spot brings on a new chef.

 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
Photograph: Erica GannettMasa Azul
 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
Photograph: Erica GannettCochinita at Masa Azul:Yucatan-braised pork, pickled red onion, habanero salsa
 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
Photograph: Erica GannettLola cocktail at Masa Azul:Corazon Blanco, Todd Appel grapefruit cordial,grapefruit, Stiegl Radler
 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
Photograph: Erica GannettTacos de champig�on at Masa Azul: ancho-roasted mushrooms,tomatillo salsa and queso fresco
 (Photograph: Erica Gannett)
Photograph: Erica GannettAutumn 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,