Argentine-flavored Folklore opened last week on Chicago’s hipster Magnificent Mile, aka Division Street, and GSChicago stopped in last night to check it out. Folklore (2100 W. Division) is the sister restaurant to the popular Lakeview BYOB Tango Sur. And as siblings go, Folklore is the Nicole to Tango Sur’s Antonia Kidman, i.e. Tango is perfectly nice and appealing, but Folklore is the bright outsized star.
On busy weekends, Tango’s small dining room, with its tiny tables overflowing and aisles almost impossible for waiters and patrons to ford, is the restaurant version of a clown car. Folklore is capacious, features high ceilings, exposed brick and silver slate tile work that reflects the glinting of flickering candles housed in cool old industrial plumbing fixtures on each table. The walls are outfitted with tiny guitars, photos of South American cowboys, and all manner of rustic wooden bric-a-brac, a sort of Gaucho surplus store chic.
Unlike Tango, Folklore has foregone BYO, and has a big separate bar room that offers lots of affordable $6 and $7 dollar glasses of Argentine and Chilean red including a lush 2006 Chono Carmenere.
The menu is pretty much the same as Tango: flaky empanadas (corn flavor features beautiful sweet kernels and oozy cheese), nice portions of well seasoned, perfectly cooked beef and plenty of tender well prepared offal (the black, aka blood, sausage is custardy and perfumed with cinnamon). Don’t miss the Parrillada Para Uno, a sizzling tray of skirt steak, sausage, and sweetbreads, the perfect antidote, in portion, price ($19) and taste, to throwing down $50 to get meat carved off glinting swords from faux-gauchos in MC Hammer style pants at other Argentine spots.