Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Basement Dining

There are quite a few holiday traditions that I’m not entirely sure about, and those having to do with shopping are the most perplexing. I don’t understand why, for example, people head to the mall on “Black Friday” and then grumble about the crowds—similarly, I don’t understand why everyone heads back to the mall to return gifts the day after Christmas. I mean, wouldn’t you rather be sitting at home, gazing at the tree and eating cookies? Well, now you know where to find me. But I guess some people just don’t like to spend that much time at home with their families. In which case—if you must, you must. With that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” spirit, I offer the following suggestion: If you happen to be in Union Square any time soon, head down to the basement of Macy’s to check out the newest addition, Frontera Fresco. It’s a dressed-down Mexican outpost from Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless (owner of Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and two other Frontera Frescos in Illinois), and though I haven’t tried it yet, it looks pretty good.


We in Union Square love eating in the basement.

Though Bayless did have a low moment shilling for Burger King, I’m still inclined to believe he’s an alright guy and good cook, and he’s done a lot for regional Mexican food in America. His cooking shows (on PBS) are delightfully informative, his cookbooks are well done, and every year he takes the staff of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo on a trip to Mexico so they can see first-hand what he’s talking about. Pretty cool.

Anyway, the menu looks like it could fuel the most aggressive gift-returning. Tortas, huaraches, quesadilla and tamales are all on offer, along with tortilla soup and corn and roasted poblano chowder.