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Chefs Richard Sandoval and Jose Garces Cut the Ribbon on Latinicity [Chicago]

The food options in Downtown shopping complex Block 37 are about to get a lot more tempting. Yesterday marked the grand opening of Latinicity, chefs Richard Sandoval and Jose Garces’ massive Latin food complex, located on the third floor.

The 22,000-sq.-ft. food hall is divided between 12 food stalls, a restaurant, market, cafe and wine bar. While early word compared it to Eataly, it more closely resembles a curated mall food court, where each booth specializes in a different prepared food type — the Burgersa serves twists on the American classic such as a chili con carne burger, while the sushi stall offers Japanese-Peruvian fusion rolls. Other options include Saladero Latin Grill with assorted fired meat and housemade sausages; Chufa, or Peruvian stir-fry; the Torta stand fills flatbread with carne asada, braised short rib and more; and Mariscos specializes in seafood of the fried, grilled and raw variety.

The market, which sits in the entrance before the hallway of food stalls, is stocked with the best Latin America and beyond has to offer. Cured meats and imported cheese fill the cooler, while spice rubs and chile powders line shelves. A thoughtful wine selection ranges from Argentinean reds to Chilean whites, while wicker baskets are filled with hard-to-find Spanish cookies, Mexican chocolates and Portuguese crafts.

Spoils from the stalls or the market can be enjoyed in a 200-seat dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook The Loop. Hanging plants, blue-and-white tiled columns, leather booths and mismatched chairs prevent the space from too closely resembling your run-of-the-mill cafeteria, while a U-shaped wood bar serving beer, wine, cocktails and sangria adds additional finesse to the space.

For a more formal experience, diners can visit Pata Negra, a full-service tapas restaurant opposite the market. The menu ranges from assorted cured meats and cheeses to an entire section devoted to Iberico, the restaurant’s namesake. Tapas lean toward the traditional with spiced meatballs, smoked Marcona almonds, tortilla Espanola, patatas bravas and bacon-wrapped Medjool dates. An open kitchen sears Wagyu sirloin and calamari to be served a la plancha. Its polar opposite, a quick-service concept designed to feed commuters fresh-cut salads, tacos and breakfast items called Loncheria, is located on the first floor.

Latinicity opens to the public tomorrow. It will be open Monday though Saturday from 11 AM to 8 PM and Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM.

108 N. State St., third floor; 312-795-4444

Source: Zagat.com

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