2.18.2013

Chicago Restaurant Week: Mexique

Welcome to another edition of Starr is way too busy with her giant stacks of papers to grade and homework to complete (and while we're being honest, a fabulous, but overwhelming social schedule) to actually write a blog post or two. Wah wah wah. Yes, it's true: I am scheduled solid from 5:00am until 10:00pm (or later) just about every day. However, that's no excuse to neglect my fabulous readers, right? :-)

I'll tell you one thing I absolutely did not neglect: Chicago Restaurant Week. I ate and ate and ate. I took a break over the weekend to attend the Cider Summit (more about this in an upcoming post!) and then I went back and ate some more. Seriously. I only went to three restaurants during the week, but I think I ate more during those three meals than the entire rest of the month! Chicago Restaurant Week is one of my favorite times of the year - it's a ten day long culinary celebration involving over 250 restaurants. Participating restaurants offer special RW prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch and $33/$44 for dinner. It is the perfect opportunity for diners to try out some pricier restaurants for a fraction of the price and also to visit some of the popular favorites for special dishes you won't find on the regular menu.


Out of the three places I visited this year, my overall favorite was Mexique, thanks to the combination of fantastic food and lovely atmosphere. Mexique had been on my must-try restaurants list for years, but I hadn't initially planned to check it out during Restaurant Week. However, after I read somewhere that it was sure to be a sleeper hit of RW, I took a look at their special lunch menu and was instantly sold.

Tinga de Pollo: Tostaditas, chipotle shredded chicken, crème fraîche, and cilantro. I LOVED this dish - the cool crème fraîche paired perfectly with the spicy chicken. Each bite contained a delicious combination of heat, crunch, salt, and sweet. While I've always liked tinga de pollo (especially in taco form), I must say that Chef Gaytan's version totally blew away all of the other versions I've tried.

Huarache: Oval shaped corn masa infused with bacon and fresh thyme, fried black beans, spinach, skirt steak, and goat cheese fondue. This was another fantastic twist on a traditional dish & a perfect example of the blending of their Mexican and French techniques. The steak was cooked perfectly and the fondue really kicked up the flavor. The black beans were slightly too thick in some parts, but otherwise, it was an amazing dish!

Chocolate Enchilada: Chocolate ganache stuffed crepe with ancho chile chocolate sauce & toasted walnuts, and vanilla ice cream. Do I really need to say anything more? Chocolate + a tiny bit of spice + walnuts + ice cream = dessert heaven. I seriously wanted to lick the plate at the end of this, but I refrained as there were too many people around me. ;-)

I think Mexique is one of those undeservingly underrated restaurants - everyone seems to know it exists, but you never hear much about it (despite the fact that it garnered its first Michelin star this year - one of only four new restaurants in Chicago to receive the distinction!). The food and presentation were both spot on, the service was fantastic, and I loved the elegant, but low-key vibe of the restaurant. We even spotted Chef Gaytan strolling around the restaurant and chatting with all of the customers (I have to admit that was I slightly goofy/foodie star struck when he stopped by our table - in my defense, I had a full belly and I was quite tipsy from the very strong sangria). :-)

My first visit to Mexique definitely will not be my last. Highly, highly, highly recommended!


Mexique on Urbanspoon
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3 comments

  1. Wow. That looks AMAZING! Drooling over here! I'm adding it to my list of restaurants to visit for the next time I'm in Chicago.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. Wow. Everything looks sooooo delicious! I can almost taste the food though those amazing photos.

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