VALENTINE’S DAY AT RONERO

VALENTINE’S DAY fell on a Tuesday this year which was weird. Since the boyfriend and I were both busy working on the 14th, we decided to celebrate this cheesy love holiday on the 15th. We have dates all the time, but it is fun to celebrate on VDAY as well.

Looking at a list of spots we wanted to try out, I chose RONERO for two reasons: one of our favorite chefs, Cory Morris (previously at RURAL SOCIETY), is now heading the kitchen; and it’s a gorgeous, sexy space.

Ronero did not disappoint on any level. We were seated in a cute two-top booth opposite the main bar, which has curtains for privacy! {I wonder if anyone actually closes them.} The menu is based on dishes from Latin America and showcase authentic ingredients and methods of cooking. Chef Cory is an expert, so we knew that anything we tried was going to be delicious. We ate.. a lot. Between what we ordered and what Chef sent out for us to try, we practically rolled out of there. Sexy, I know. :-p  Here’s to the food!

{disclaimer: due to the dim lighting in the restaurant, the food pics aren’t the greatest}

AMUSE BOUCHE | kaluga caviar, avocado crème fraîche, fingerlime, plantain chip

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EMPANADAS | daily selection – spicy chicken

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ALBONDIGAS | pork and beef meatballs, aji de mani, peanut, cilantro

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ROPA VIEJA | goat, sofrito, goat cheese, foccacia

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CORDERO | colorado lamb chops, huacatay sauce, peruvian potato puree

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DORADO | dorado, gallo pinto, shishito peppers, salsa lizano

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ARROZ CON LECHE | vanilla rice pudding, roasted pineapple, toasted almonds

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ALFAJORES | dulce de leche flan, cocoa shortbread, apple, marigold blossoms

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LAVALLE Y ROSAS | Papa Pilar Blonde Solera Rum, Giffard Banana de Brésil, dulce de leche, fresh cream, salted hazelnuts
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What can I say about the food? Um, DELICIOUS. I wasn’t sure that I’d enjoy the meatballs in peanut sauce, but the dish was perfectly executed. I probably could’ve dipped anything and everything in that sauce. My personal favorite were the lamb chops. Chef Cory just makes the most perfect lamb chops in all of Chicago. That’s a big statement to make, but I’m sure of it. The boyfriend and I could’ve easily had a plate each as our main entrees. In fact, I will likely do that next time.

By the time we got to dessert, we were stuffed. BUT there’s always room for something sweet. The rice pudding… oh, the rice pudding. I’m a huge fan of just about any kind, but Ronero’s is unique. The addition of pineapple is a perfect tang to the sweet rice pudding. The alfajores. Wow. So alfajores are basically butter cookies. Ronero serves theirs with the most decadent dulce de leche flan ever. I mean, it tastes like a can of dulce de leche – which I personally dig into with just a teaspoon. The desserts are a perfect sweet ending to a flavorful, balanced and authentic Latin meal.

Following our feast, we were also given a private tour of the upstairs lounge, Esco Bar… get it? Ok good. It’s awesome. Small space, tables with large format cocktail service, DJ and live music. I can’t wait to go back! As a sidenote to that, the music at Ronero is SO on point! It was basically my Latin playlists… including everything from Carlos Vives to Marc Anthony to Maluma and Ricky Martin. I was dancing in my seat. Now I’ll just have to go back to dance in Esco Bar 🙂

Overall, Ronero + Esco Bar make for one sexy date night with Latin flare, whether it be with your S.O., your besties or a big group. Make your reservation now.

… And because we are cheesy in love, here’s us.

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As you can see, we unintentionally matched each other… and then also blended into the restaurant’s Havana-themed decor. As the boyfriend said it best, we looked “ridiculous…ly cute“!

P.S. Thanks to my love for picking me up with this surprise waiting for me in the car. I loved it. 🙂

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RONERO | 738 W Randolph St, Chicago 60661

THANK YOU to Chef Cory for the extra dishes to try, and to Alex and Nils for the warm welcome and tour of the space!

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