Did I just manage to randomly stumble upon one of the best jibaritos in Chicago? My intention was to visit Joey's Shrimp House in Humboldt Park for a massive fried shrimp po' boy. I mean, jibaritos aren't even on the main menu. But when I asked the manager what I had to try, he went straight for the shrimp jibarito ($8.95). How could I pass it up? This sandwich trades slices of bread for thin sheets of fried plantains. It's also a Chicago original, albeit one that is notoriously tricky to get right. It's no secret that many versions around town feature plantains that are too thick and greasy.
But, as you can tell from the picture above, Joey's takes its frying seriously. The plantains are absurdly thin and crisp, while also managing to be pliant enough not to shatter when you bite in. This is undoubtedly due to Joey's insistence on cooking everything to order. That also means that the shrimp filling is sautéed moments before it is placed on the sandwich. It all adds up to remarkably balanced jibarito. I need to visit a couple more times before I can make any other declarations, but Joey's is definitely one to watch out for.
Joey's Shrimp House
1432 N Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 (map)