When the owners of the popular Argentine steakhouse Tango Sur
opened a new restaurant, they wisely chose to stick with their already successful model, only tweaking the details to fit the new era and neighborhood.
In the most elemental way - the food - Tango Sur and Folklore are the same restaurant. The Wicker Park offshoot of the Lakeview favorite has an almost identical menu, with affordable, top-notch steaks ruling with savory, garlicky chimichurri on the side.
Folklore's menu has been expanded to include a few vegetarian options and some grass-fed beef, but the biggest difference is the liquor license. The cost-conscious might be bummed that Folklore didn't carry over Tango Sur's BYOB policy, but the wine menu is surprisingly economical, with many bottles under $50 and 17 by-the-glass options that fall in the $5-$9 range. And quality isn't a casualty of low price, with plenty of unusual, tasty wines on the Argentina-, Chile- and Spain-only list. A wide range of cocktails (all under $10) and a small but terrific craft beer selection round out the liquor.
The dining room at Folklore is also similar to its older brother, although there are a few changes, most noticeably an increase in space. Seating capacity is about the same, but Folklore has a downright airy main seating area. Dark wood still dominates, but Folklore's rustic, comforting feel is angular and modern and has an industrial flare.
The gorgeous bar encapsulates the new aesthetic: cherry-hued wood with inlaid metal designs sits in front of an exposed brick wall. The bar holds candles and flowers, placed in almost as subtle a manner as the giant subwoofer, which is there not to pump decibels but to give the electronic tango music a full-range sound to match the richness of the updated yet traditional decor.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alexander Hough