A Sandwich a Day: Milanesa Torta from Tortas Frontera

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

Editor's Note: In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year--so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the Windy City. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know


[Photograph: Joe Roy]

People are reeling over the seemingly covert launch of a second Tortas Frontera at Urban Market, an upscale-ish food court located in the belly of Chase Tower. Finally, it's possible to sample Rick Bayless' thoughtful tortas without hoofing it all the way to O'Hare Airport! Ok, so as Grub Street Chicago pointed out, with a Frontera Fresco a few blocks away and Xoco nearby in River North, we aren't hurting in the Bayless-approved Mexican street food department down here. But believe the hype—these are some serious sandwiches, and at almost three bucks less than their airport compatriots, they're an affordable downtown lunch option.


The Milanesa ($8.95) features a "crispy-crunchy chicken breast," pickled jalapeños, Chihuahua cheese, cilantro crema, and avocado, all pressed between a wide, flat bolillo roll. It's an engaging balance of flavors and textures: the crunch of the moist, panko-crusted chicken contrasts with the smooth, citrusy crema, while the rich avocado coats your tongue before the spicier-than-expected jalapeños get a few jabs in at the end. It's not listed in the menu description, but I swear there's a schmear of unctuous, fatty black beans tying the whole thing together, too. I'll be back for another as soon possible, because while any sandwich Rick Bayless puts his name is bound to be good, one that begins with the cashier yelling "Milanesa drop!" to the kitchen staff is undoubtedly great.

Tortas Frontera

Urban Market, 10 S Dearborn Street Chicago, IL 60603 (map)