. . . has opened on the southwest side.
After wandering around the city eating on a recent hot Saturday I decided a coctele de camaron and some cerveza would be a perfect way to finish. I had wanted to try the newest Las Islas Marias and figured this would be a good opportunity. The place was absolutely packed, parking lot filled with shiny new pickups, every table occupied, jukebox blaring, a line out the door. I'm not sure if this was the Grand Opening or if it's like this every Saturday. About the time I decided to come back another time the mariachis arrived and things got REALLY loud. I regret not sticking around.
The menu is identical (or nearly so) to the other LIM's: strictly fish, heavy on the shrimp (at least 16 different dishes). Empanadas de camaron, various ceviches, caldos, and cocteles are all there as are fresh oysters ($9.45 a dozen). Everything looked and smelled great so I'm reasonably confident saying if you like the original LIM (Grand & Cicero, NE corner), you'll like this new one too. I believe at the moment they have no liquor license so it's BYO. Nearly every table had big buckets or bowls of ice water holding many beers.
I hope to be back soon but first have some questions for the LIM veterans. I'm still not sure I understand what all the shrimp dishes are. The current menu has some English translations (not the case when I first went to the original) but some are far from clear. What's the difference between "Camaron a la Cucaracha" (a Nayarit dish involving Salsa Huichol) and "Camaron al Huichol"? How are "Camarones Islas Marias" prepared? Has anyone tried the "Langostinos (Camaron Chacal) a la Plancha"?
In the parking lot, almost hidden among all the hot trucks, I noticed a shiny new very large catering truck, the kind with fold-down sides. It will be interesting to see where this turns up. Sad to say, there is no giant shrimp cavorting on the new restaurant's roof.
Finally, there are quite a number of worthwhile food stops nearby or on the way. International Club, the Asian food warehouse, is at 40th and Pulaski. There's a Krispy Kreme at 45th and Pulaski (though I don't necessarily endorse their donuts!). Kolatek's, a decent and cheap Euro-Mex bakery is at 54th and Kedzie (I erroneously reported it had closed; Kitty pointed out it is still open). You can stock up on Polish deli meats and salads (some good, some not, all cheap), many breads, and lots of other stuff at Gilmart (5050 S Archer). Then there's that very odd purely vegetarian taqueria and a place for Cecina Venado but those will have to wait for future posts.
Las Islas Marias
"Bienvenidos a su Vitamina!"
5401 S Pulaski Rd
(a few blocks south of the Pulaski stop on the Orange Line)
open 7 days to 930pm (maybe later)