A Sandwich a Day: Torta de Chicharrón from Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.


[Photograph: Joe Roy]

Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant on Diversey Avenue in Logan Square appears to be your run-of-the-mill neighborhood taqueria. All the required elements are here: fiesta decorations, nondescript tomatoey table salsa, the requisite tacos and burritos with a variety of fillings, and even hamburgers and fries for the non-adventurous eater who somehow found himself in a Mexican restaurant.

But in keeping with my usual experience with ethnic restaurants, appearances can be deceiving. While my co-adventurer was served a pretty mediocre plate of steak tacos, I had much more luck with the Torta de Chicharrón ($4.50). This sandwich is exactly what it sounds like: a torta topped with ever-present refried beans, sour cream, tomato, and lettuce—but instead of chunks of meat, the protein consists of braised chicharrones (deep fried pork skin). While I was cautioned that the braising sauce made the sandwich extra spicy, only the most sensitive of palates will find it so. And as you can tell by the picture, there's no way to eat this with anything but knife and fork in hand. The drenched chicharrones means that any hope for deep fried crunch is long gone, but the intensely porky flavor of the sandwich more than makes up for it. Admittedly, the texture of this sandwich may be off-putting to some, but if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone, you'll be surprised at just how appealing chewy can be.

Zacatecas Mexican Restaurant

2934 W Diversey Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (map)