Broken English Taco Pub is a spot that has been on my radar for quite some time. As a lover of Mexican cuisine and a believer that I shouldn’t have to go all the way to Pilsen for a good taco, I was delighted to finally have the chance to check it out.
Broken English is a vibrant Taco Pub located in the Loop. The restaurant is a concept from famed-Chicago restaurateurs Phil Stefani and Adolfo Garcia, the same people behind one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Pearl Tavern. The executive Chef Frank Valdez has created a menu based on the inspiring flavors of Mexico found in the traditional street tacos and foods throughout the country. I was counting down the days until my reservation with my dear friend Kaitlyn. Once you are in the mood for Mexican, it can be hard to think of anything else!
Upon arriving at Broken English, you can peer in the large front facing open windows, and see an array of colors displayed throughout the restaurant. Once you enter, you are fully surrounded by gorgeous murals, painted by renowned graffiti artist, JC Rivera. I absolutely LOVE the huge Frida Khalo mural at the back of the restaurant. The restaurant, is vibrant and an ode to some distinct Mexican cultural aspects you don’t see at most Mexican restaurants; men dressed in traditional lucha masks, sugar skulls and other elements of Dia De los Muertos, and old pictures of Mexican fighters. I must say, it is really cool.
Starving, we quickly grabbed a hightop. Our server greeted us and I stuck with water while Kaitlyn indulged and ordered one of their signature margaritas. I am always health conscious, and try to make good decisions when it comes to what I eat. So while I wanted to indulge, I wanted to be conscious of what I was ordering, and order something that was uber healthy, to make up for the corn chips and tortillas I was going to have as well.
We started with the achiote hummus because is just my kind of dish. A healthier alternative to guacamole with chips, this hummus was delicious and comes served with jicama. Jicama gives the perfect crunch that we crave when we eat chips, but is so much healthier, and a fraction of the calories. For those of you who don’t know, jicama is a very low calorie root vegetable of Mexican origin. It has a mild flavor and a perfect texture making it an ideal alternative to chips anytime.
The hummus was full of flavor thanks to the achiote, chile and cilantro. Knowing it was a healthy dish made me so happy. We also decided to get the street corn, or the grilled elote. It came topped with a spicy crema, but I i just spooned mine off. This was delicious.
For entrees, We of course ordered tacos to share. I opted for the grilled swordfish and the camarones, while Kaitlyn ordered the pork belly al pastor and the carne asada. Surf and Turf! The swordfish tacos were awesome, better than any tilapia fish tacos I have had elsewhere. I loved the shrimp tacos as well.
The meat tacos were full of flavor, and filling. Four orders of tacos at two each was more than enough for the two of us. I was starting to get full fast. I loved the charred pineapple on the al pastor tacos; it was just the right amount of sweetness. It was my first time having these type of traditional tacos so the bold flavors were exciting to me.
Broken English is definitely my new go to Mexican spot in Chicago. Not only is the food amazing but the atmosphere is so fun, and it is a great addition to the limited street-taco style fare that the city has to offer.
Broken English Taco Pub
75 E. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60601