WEST LOOP — Inspired by the Latin American region where he grew up, industry veteran Nils Westlind debuted a new rum bar this week on Randolph's restaurant row.
With executive chef Cory Morris, Nils opened Ronero, at 738 W. Randolph St., for dinner service this week. The pair also plan to open an upstairs bar with live music and entertainment early next year.
Morris, formerly of Rural Society and Mercat a la Planxa, developed a menu focused on Central and South American staples with contemporary touches in three sections — Para Compartir, small bites to share; meat, poultry and fish; and El Gran Show, featuring three sharable dishes served tableside.
The menu, which draws inspiration from the flavors of Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Peru, includes:
• Coxinha de Galinha, roasted chicken croquettes with frisse and aioli
• Ceviche Mixta made with shrimp, sea bass, coconut, lime, corn nuts, fresno chiles, and cilantro
• Matambre, cured beef, heirloom carrot, egg, and chimichurri emulsion
• Cordero, Colorado lamb chops with huacatay sauce and Peruvian potato
• Vieiras, diver scallops with orange-mojo, polenta, and delicata squash
• Pescado Fritto, a whole fried Red Snapper served with coconut-cola rice and fried plantain
• Puerco en Pachamanca, a 32 oz. pork shoulder wrapped in banana leaf, served with yucca and garlic mojo
Beverage director Allie Kim, formerly beverage consultant at BOKA Restaurant Group, crafted an extensive cocktail menu for the restaurant and bar, featuring reimagined classic Latin American cocktails that includes putting a fresh spin on Daiquiris, Caipirinhas and Juleps. The downstairs menu features cocktails like:
• the Mama Pacha, made with Bols Genever, Singani 63 Bolivian Spirit, St. Elizabeth Allspice Liqueur, Chicha Morada (purple corn punch), and lemon
• the Desierto Florido, made with Copper and King’s Unaged Apple Brandy, Cinnamon, lemon, egg white, Chilean Pinot Noir, and rose petals.
Highballs and drams are also on the menu, and the bar features a selection of regional and local beers.
Ronero's design channels Little Havana in the Art Deco era, with gold tiling, dramatic lighting and vibrant tropical banana leaf prints lining the space.
The upstairs bar, set to open in early 2017, is designed as an homage to Castillo San Filipe de Barajas in Cartagena, Colombia, a place that holds special memories for Westlind. The bar will focus on upscale cocktails with an emphasis on rum and rare and exclusive spirits.
Ronero is open from 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5-10 p.m. Sunday. Guests can make reservations through Reserve.