Mexican brunch is always a good idea. So when the lovely folks at Mago Grill & Cantina sent me an email about the restaurant’s brunch, naturally I was intrigued. I had not heard of Mago Grill & Cantina Grill before, and I always love finding a new Mexican spot to eat at. After doing some research we discovered that it was located in The Roosevelt Collection in the South Loop, an area that has been recently developed over the last few years, and is now a bustling spot packed with shops, restaurants, and a ginormous new movie theater. The hubby and I picked a Saturday to brunch and catch a flick.
Mago is a big restaurant; at first glance it looks some what kitschy, as restaurants on shopping strips tend to be. Upon entering, though, Chris and I were enticed by the decor. Bright colors filled the space, and we loved the unique art work on the wall. Again, the space is big, so our little table for two stuck out as the restaurant wasn’t that busy when we arrived. Eventually, though, more people came and the space began to fill up.
Our server came to the table and kindly walked us through the menu, which was great because as newbies we weren’t familiar with a lot of the dishes offered. What I instinctively liked about Mago was the restaurant’s twist on traditional brunch and Mexican dishes. Nothing on the menu seemed ordinary, and I hoped that the food tasted as enticing as it sounded.
Chris and I decided to start slow, and order a few drinks in addition to chips and guacamole. I went with the Mago bloody Maria de Lujo, the restaurant’s take on a traditional bloody Mary, but more awesome. Chris went with his normal cup of Joe. My cocktail arrived to the table in a much larger form than I had expected! Topped with a skewer of jumbo poached shrimp, cheese, jalapeños, and olives. I instantly recruited Chris to help me drink it, knowing that I would not be able to drink all myself.
The guacamole is prepared table side, which is always the best. We watched in excitement as the lovely “guac girl” mixed together the ingredients and mashed them into the stone mortar and pestal. The guacamole was perfectly seasoned and delicious and the chips were equally as good.
Chris ordered the breakfast burrito, made with scrambled eggs, pinto beans, caramelized red and green bell peppers, onions, seasoned potatoes, and house chorizo. It was topped with melted cheese “Suiza style”, and looked awesome.
Chris enjoyed the burrito, but we both agreed that it could have been filled with less potato and more scrambled eggs, as the potatoes were the majority of the filling. Nonetheless, it was still yummy, and Chris housed it down in a matter of minutes.
I decided to go with the camarones y elotes, the restaurant’s take on shrimp and grits. Sautéed shrimp were placed on a crispy polenta cake and topped with ancho peppers, breakfast sausage, grilled corn esquites, and two fried eggs.
I really enjoyed this dish and would argue that it could be on the dinner menu as well. The flavors were bold and worked well together. The shrimp were delicious. I love elote, so the corn in the dish was very satisfying. My only complaint would have to be that the ancho chili peppers were a little much. They were quite chewy and I found myself picking around them as to not eat them and try to get more of the corn and polenta mixture. Also, I wish the eggs were not fried as hard as they were in my dish; I would have loved a yolk oozing out onto the shrimp and grits.
Finally, there was no avoiding ordering the churros for dessert. Despite being stuffed, Chris and I took our server up on the offer of a sweet finish to the meal, and we had no regrets in doing so. The churros arrived to the table fresh and warm, coated in cinnamon and sugar, and served with a hot chocolate dipping sauce. As one can imagine, they were delicious.
Mago is fun. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming. The restaurant offers an exciting take on Mexican and Latin cuisine, resulting in dishes full of bold flavors, and something for everyone. I would encourage anyone looking to celebrate over a big brunch with family to check Mago out, or for folks looking to make a day out of the weekend and fuel up before some afternoon shopping or before catching a movie.
The Bitches Say: B. Mago Grill & Cantina is a delightful spot. It is perfect for a family get-together, a bite after shopping or before going to the movies. We loved their exciting take on traditional Mexican cuisine, and the fun decor of the space!