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Learn The Overrated Art Of Sharing At Black Bull Tapas

By Kyle Thacker in Food on Jul 11, 2012 7:20PM


The death and reincarnation of Angels & Mariachis has brought us Black Bull Tapas. As a tapas bar surrounded by Wicker Park sports bars and pub food, it’s a welcome departure from that beer and burger bloated strip of Division street. The team behind Hubbard Inn backs Black Bull. Its kitchen, headed by chefs Bob Zrenner and Luis Contresas, is churning out some really tasty plates that are primo for a night out with friends.

The menu offers over 30 different plates, with options ranging from grilled seafood dishes to breaded pork loin or bacon wrapped dates. The grilled octopus was especially memorable—soft and sweet, with a taste and texture similar to that of scallops, the dish had just the right spice of paprika and was the most satisfying plate we sampled. It was good enough to make us forget the tenets of friendship, causing us to say, “screw sharing, I’m eating all of this myself.”

The design of Black Bull, airy and relaxed, with a sleek urbanity sprucing up the Spanish pintxos-style that inspired it, does its best to create a sense of Bacchic leisure. Though we're sure the servers concerned with turnover on tables don’t want anyone feeling too leisurely.

The house cocktails are average and unimpressive. It's a generic cocktail list, with classics like Negronis and Manhattans that don't seem to mesh with the style of food or the Spanish inspired theme of the restaurant. Stick with a nice glass of Spanish wine instead.

At Black Bull it’s best to focus on creating an array of plates that allows as much variety as possible. But a way to ensure satisfaction is to go with the intention of socializing with friends over light fare and a few drinks. Don’t go in hopes of satisfying hunger with a hearty meal, otherwise you’ll need to order four or five plates to do so, and your wallet will feel like it underwent a liposuction.

Black Bull Tapas is located at 1721 W. Division St.