Nayarit-style seafood joint now open in Albany Park, plus more restaurant news

Saturday, 02 December 2017, 09:59:01 PM. Mexican Nayarit seafood in Albany Park, upscale fine dining in the West Loop and everything in between.

When Ambrosio Mancines opened T&B Grill in Albany Park, he noticed that most of his customers were coming from places outside the neighborhood. Despite serving Mexican food with an American twist and receiving good reviews from his customers, he still wasn’t attracting customers who lived in the neighborhood.

So he decided to shutter T&B Grill after nearly three years and reconcept it as Mariscos Sirena, a Mexican restaurant dedicated to seafood.

“I made this new concept (to serve) the Hispanic community and this neighborhood,” Mancines said.

The new restaurant features oysters, shrimp, empanadas and ceviche. The menu is in English and Spanish. Mancines is particularly proud of the pina rellena estilo Nayarit, a stuffed pineapple filled with seafood and topped with cheese. He also said to look out for the langoustines, which can be prepared in a number of styles.

Mancines, a native of Guerrero, Mexico, was a dishwasher before making salads at Vivaldi in Chicago. From there, he worked his way up through multiple other Chicago restaurants, including Bistro Chez Joel, Folklore and David Burke’s Steakhouse in Schaumburg.

Mancines said he talked to both T&B Grill customers and neighborhood residents to find out what they wanted on the menu, and the response leaned toward Mexican seafood, although a few items from T&B Grill carried over, as requested by those patrons.

“I asked the customers because I didn’t want to try again, (only to) make another mistake,” Mancines said. “It’s better to ask what they like and put it on the menu than serve them something that they might not like.”

Mariscos Sirena opened Nov. 10, and since then, Mancines said he’s already served many people from the neighborhood.

“We still have a lot of customers from T&B Grill, and so far, people love the food,” Mancines said. “People trust in what we’re doing because we’re doing something fresh, not too expensive, and we have really good customer service.”

3658 W. Lawrence Ave., 773-961-7016

Other openings

SOUTH LOOP — Asian Cajun just opened its third location, serving up Cajun favorites with an Asian twist, like seafood boils, Cajun crawfish fried rice and po’ boys. 2115 S.State St., 312-883-6536,

MORTON GROVE — Kababjees is serving up Indo-Pakistani food, like chicken biryani, beef nihari and daal palak. It has weekday lunch specials, dessert and teas. 6037 W. Dempster St., 224-534-7551,

MAGNIFICENT MILE — Aloha Poke Co. is opening its sixth location Friday in the food court at The Shops at North Bridge. 520 N. Michigan Ave.,

NEAR NORTH — Wow Bao is opening its sixth Chicago location this week, bringing steamed baos, dumplings, rice and noodles. The twist? It will be a fully automated eatery. . 1 W. Division St., ,

HYDE PARK — Vanille Patisserie will open its fourth location, an opportunity for South Siders to get their fix of delicious French desserts, macarons, pastries and cakes. 5229 S. Harper Court, 773-868-4574,

LOOP — Dia de los Tamales has opened in Block 37, making this the second location outside of the flagship store in Pilsen. It’s serving slow-roasted Cuban pork tamales, nachos, three-cheese arepas and pasteles. 108 N. State St., 312-255-7426,

LOOP — Pokeworks is celebrating its grand opening with a “buy one poke bowl, get one free” offer 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.. This is the first Chicago location, and it will serve poke bowls, poke burritos and poke salad. 79 E. Madison St., 312-868-0261, pokeworks.com

ICYMI

Described as an artistic American restaurant, Bellemore opened this week with chef Jimmy Papadopoulos at the helm in collaboration with the Boka Restaurant Group.

The owners of Logan Square restaurant Jam will expand to Uptown, opening 3 Squares Diner in Lawrence House, .

Twitter @gracewong630

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