Nacional 27 (325 W. Huron St.), which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, begins its next 20 years with a new chef.
Cory Morris, last seen at Boleo, the rooftop bar in the Loop, quietly joined N27 in November. “It’s really great to be here,” he said. “Not a lot of restaurants celebrate 20 years in the business, and this place operates at the busy level of a brand-new restaurant; it’s quite remarkable.”
Nacional 27 is pan-Latino restaurant — the name refers to the 27 Spanish-speaking countries on whose cuisines the menu is based — and Morris seems like an ideal fit. At Boleo, Morris focused on Peruvian street food; prior to that, he worked with Cuban flavors at Ronero, Argentine-style beef at the late Rural Society, and tapas and paella at Mercat a la Planxa.
The current menu represents Morris’ first major changes. New dishes include a ropa vieja empanada (“I took the olives out of the traditional ropa vieja menu and made an olive chimichurri sauce instead”), Peruvian chicken with aji amarillo and arroz con pollo (“I use the same nice Spanish rice I’d use for paella”).
The dining room has undergone a recent remodeling, creating new booths, curtains and carpeting, along with new lighting, artwork and a replaced dance floor (which gets a lot of use on weekends).