Cuisine: Street Foods from around the Equator: Asian, Caribbean, Mexican, South American, and Polynesian
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar
Location: Minneapolis (Uptown)
Address: 2916 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55408 ( 612) 824-7878
Hours: Sun-Thurs 4:30pm-1am Fri-Sat 4:30p-2am
Atmosphere: Chino Latino is located in Uptown on Hennepin Ave at Lake St (across from Calhoun Square). It is a cool and chic restaurant that runs two stories, with most tables set closely together. Most of the tables are big enough for larger parties, but there is also a extra-long community table on the lower level that allows for much bigger parties. One side of the restaurant hosts a sushi bar, the other side has a giant bar that illuminates the entire restaurant with its orange glow. The kitchen is on the lower level, as are the bathrooms.
Menu: The Menu at Chino Latino is printed on a daily basis, so items may vary depending on season and availability.
Tacos include Barbacoa (shredded beef), Tinga (stewed chicken), Crunchy Carne, and Mijangos (stewed chicken).
Sushi Options include Chipotle Salmon Roll, Salmon Roll, White Tiger Roll, Tuna Tataki, Weed Eater, Kalifornia Krab Roll, Spicy Mango Shrimp Caterpillar Roll, Ring of Fire Roll, and Sushi Sampler.
Little Dishes on my visit included Habanero Poppers, Queso Fundido, Chinese BBQ ribs, Black Laab (Thai lettuce wraps), Jerk Chicken Skewers, Shrimp Feast, Tostada de Tinga, Firecracker Wings, Popocatepe (nacho-style fries), Potstickers, Shrimp Wraps, Shrimp Lollopops, Plum Blossom Salad, Bulgogi Beef Lettuce Cup, Empanada de Janeiro, Pescado Ahumado, Satay, Nachos del Sol, Chicken Enchiladas, Calamari, Mushi-Buro Beef, Crispy Saigon Rolls, Spicy Edamame, and Polynesian Pupu Platter.
Bigger Dishes to Share include Carne Asada Ala Moreliana (taco platter), Coconut Shrimp Curry, Mahi Mahi, Lo Mein, Philippine Paella, Fish Taco Platter, Banana Boat Chicken, Cuban Pork Roast, Mandarin Beef Stir Fry, Jerked Chicken, Big Chipotle Burrito, Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice, Miso Noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Argentine Rodizio Roast, Cuban Pig Roast, and Cuy (roasted Guinea Pig).
Dessert Options include Deep Fried Snickers, Molten Chocolate Cake, Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream, S’Mores Platter, Chocolate Flandango (flan layered with chocolate cake), Brownie Tres Leches, Fried Ice Cream, Mango Spiced Cake, Ice Cream, and Banana Split.
There are countless “Hot Zone Cocktails” at Chino Latino including a variety of Mojitos, Martinis, Margaritas, and many other fruity drinks. Several Beers and Wines also available.
Price guide: Tacos $3-4 Sushi $12-25 Little Plates $7-17 Big Plates $19-35 Desserts $6-14
What we ordered: **Must warn you that these photos are not very good, I was forced to use flash because of the eerie orange glow**
I started with the House Margarita, made with Sauza, fresh lime juice and Triple Sec. Maybe I have gotten spoiled with all the sweet margaritas I have had lately, but I thought this margarita was terrible! It was bitter and strong, no matter how many limes I squeezed into it, it did not get much better. A few of my friends had the same one and enjoyed it. Must be a matter of preference, but I would not get it again.
I ordered the Pescado Ahumado, a delicious dish of bite-size pieces of smoked swordfish tossed in a light, creamy citrusy dressing, served with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, and thick corn tortilla chips. I loved it! The smokiness of the fish was subtle but gave it such a nice flavor, there was no hint of fishiness at all. The texture of the swordfish was very dense, almost more like poultry than fish. Excellent choice!
One of my companions ordered the Chicken Enchiladas. There were 3-4 corn tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken and black beans, then covered with a spicy chile salsa and topped with shredded lettuce, sour cream and tomatoes. I tried some of these enchiladas and thought they were good, but not a highlight on the Chino Latino menu. So many other fun and yummy things to try!
Another companion ordered Fried Rice with Chicken. This was a giant order of fried rice, with tons of peppers, green onion, egg and chicken. Absolutely delicious!
Another companion ordered the Potstickers, an order of six large pan-fried dumplings stuffed with chicken and vegetables. Served with a ginger-soy dipping sauce. Very yummy!
Another companion ordered the Ochos Rios Jerk Chicken Skewers, one of the best things that I tried! The chicken was very spicy and served with a delicious, refreshing mango pico de gallo. The sweetness of the mango was the perfect compliment to the spicy chicken.
Another companion ordered the Nachos del Sol. These nachos were unlike most you might be familiar with, because they were served with fried plantain chips instead of tortilla chips. The bowl contained black beans, chorizo, pico de gallo, queso fresco, sour cream and jalapenos for dipping the chips.
And last but not least, is the Sushi Sampler that two of my companions shared. Just one look at this tray and I was envious of their choice! For $25, this is the best sushi deal you can get at Chino Latino because you get to try the Tiger Shrimp Roll, Mango Shrimp Caterpillar Roll, Wasabi Tuna Balls, and Chipotle Salmon Roll. Outstanding sushi!
Service: We had very good service while at Chino Latino. We had a party of eight without a reservation but they were able to seat us without too long of a wait. The drinks took some time and the food was brought out as it was made, so we were all eating at different times. One thing that is very nice is that Chino Latino has some round tables and booths made for up to 10 people so we were all able to conversate more intimately and there is a lazy-susan in the middle of the table to easily share dishes.
Overall Impression: I love the food at Chino Latino and think the concept of “street foods from the hot zones” is absolutely genius. I wish the prices were a little more affordable so I could eat there often and try everything on the menu!