Jose Gonzalez / Paladar Restaurant & Rum Bar

Jose Gonzalez is bringing Old World Cuba to Chicago with Paladar Restaurant & Rum Bar. He’s just made a few modern, rum-infused tweaks.

The eatery is heating up the hip Logan Square neighborhood with hearty Havana-inspired dishes and 45 types of rum (that’s right, 45).

In this episode of Chat Chow TV, we spoke with Gonzalez about his 46-year-old, fall-off-the-bone oxtail recipe, what makes Paladar’s black beans deliciously different from the rest and how rum should really be enjoyed (watch the video above for his expert tasting techniques).

Gonzalez attributes his success to his nostalgic inspiration.

“‘Paladar’ is a noun, it means ‘palate’,” explains Gonzalez, the next generation of restaurateurs in his family’s long lineage. “What I was going for is what’s happening in Cuba right now. People are taking their homes and converting it into restaurants. They’re making their dining rooms into restaurants and they’re called ‘paladares.’ That’s what I was trying to do here. I brought that warmth, feeling, that passion that I saw growing up with my parents cooking.”

His family recipes keep us coming back. Savor entrees like whole red snapper flanked by full-plate portions of traditional Cuban sides: white rice, sweet plantains and black beans. The buttery yucca is just melt-in-your-mouth good.

Stocking 45 types of rum means Paladar makes a mean mojito. Infused with fresh ingredients (think cucumber and guava), these sugarcane-sweet cocktails have secured a place on our ‘best of’ list. Additionally, tasters can refine their ‘paladar’ with a rum flight at the bar. Join us as we work our way through all 45…


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