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  • Mixteco Grill

    Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 2:24 pm
    Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 2:24 pm Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 2:24 pm
    Image

    There has been a lot of talk and interest in this spot since it opened in April in what is apparently the northernmost region of Lakeview. Consistently excellent food, with superb service and a great atmosphere. See thread here:
    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=19245.

    On the corner of Ashland and Montrose.

    Mixteco Grill
    1601 W Montrose Ave
    Chicago, IL 60613
    773-868-1601
    trpt2345
  • Post #2 - September 14th, 2008, 4:15 pm
    Post #2 - September 14th, 2008, 4:15 pm Post #2 - September 14th, 2008, 4:15 pm
    trpt2345 wrote:Consistently excellent food, with superb service and a great atmosphere.

    Trpt,

    I've not had a chance to try Mixteco, care to offer a few specifics beyond excellent, superb, great as to why you feel Mixteco should be awarded a LTHForum GNR.

    Thanks, I'm looking forward to trying Mixteco.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - September 14th, 2008, 7:50 pm
    Post #3 - September 14th, 2008, 7:50 pm Post #3 - September 14th, 2008, 7:50 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    trpt2345 wrote:Consistently excellent food, with superb service and a great atmosphere.

    Trpt,

    I've not had a chance to try Mixteco, care to offer a few specifics beyond excellent, superb, great as to why you feel Mixteco should be awarded a LTHForum GNR.

    Thanks, I'm looking forward to trying Mixteco.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Interesting comment. Maybe this has been hashed out before, but is it critical that the nominator make an impassioned nomminating plea? Do they have to say much beyond, "here's a good one" with appropriate evidence of Board support and spirit (the links). The linked thread pretty much speaks for itself, with such solid praise for this place. This surely seems like a captured the imagination of LTH kinda place. Is more needed?

    Just aking.
  • Post #4 - September 14th, 2008, 8:52 pm
    Post #4 - September 14th, 2008, 8:52 pm Post #4 - September 14th, 2008, 8:52 pm
    Vital Information wrote:Interesting comment. Maybe this has been hashed out before, but is it critical that the nominator make an impassioned nomminating plea? Do they have to say much beyond, "here's a good one" with appropriate evidence of Board support and spirit (the links). The linked thread pretty much speaks for itself, with such solid praise for this place. This surely seems like a captured the imagination of LTH kinda place. Is more needed?


    If you look at past nominating threads, you'll see that generally the nominator lays out the charms of a given place and fleshes the post out with some details for those who might not be familiar with the restaurant. Is that a hard and fast rule? No, but it seems to be traditionally the way it is done.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - September 15th, 2008, 1:10 am
    Post #5 - September 15th, 2008, 1:10 am Post #5 - September 15th, 2008, 1:10 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    trpt2345 wrote:Consistently excellent food, with superb service and a great atmosphere.

    Trpt,

    I've not had a chance to try Mixteco, care to offer a few specifics beyond excellent, superb, great as to why you feel Mixteco should be awarded a LTHForum GNR.

    Thanks, I'm looking forward to trying Mixteco.

    Enjoy,
    Gary


    Sorry if I misunderstood the process here,I thought that the link to the extensive thread devoted to this new north side gem would speak for itself. If you peruse the thread there is an overwhelmingly positive slant to the many posts. I have found that Raul has planned this venture well, assembled a terrific staff and implemented a wildly successful business plan.

    I have traveled extensively in Mexico over the past twenty plus years (my wife is from Mexico city) and I have come to appreciate the various styles of cuisine in that most interesting and varied country. Raul Arreola has apprenticed in some of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago (eleven years with Rick Bayless, further experience with Geno Bahena in his various venues plus others) and his Mixteco has presented the fruits of his experience and imagination. His offerings at Mixteco are consistently interesting, inventive, varied, tasteful and well-executed. In a small space that has never supported a restaurant that has lasted more than a few months he has consistently drawn a huge local crowd that is well-served by an attentive and motivated staff. Mixteco consistently presents well-conceived Mexican dishes that outshine anything else in the neighborhood and stand up well to comparisons with other GNR restaurants in that genre if not exceeding them, such as Sol de Mexico, Fonda del Mar, La Quebrada and Casa de Isaac. I have been to all of them and none are better. There is nothing on the north side within many miles of Mixteco that present such well-done Mexican cuisine; I don't even try to go to Frontera (and I love Rick) any more because Mixteco is every bit as good and way easier to get to for me, less than two miles from my home, (local parking is never a problem) and way less expensive. I would recommend perusing the thread and trying it yourself; in my experience it certainly fits the category of a GNR.
    trpt2345
  • Post #6 - September 15th, 2008, 6:25 am
    Post #6 - September 15th, 2008, 6:25 am Post #6 - September 15th, 2008, 6:25 am
    stevez wrote:If you look at past nominating threads, you'll see that generally the nominator lays out the charms of a given place and fleshes the post out with some details for those who might not be familiar with the restaurant.

    Exactly, a little scene setting helps set the nomination in the boards mind and hopefully encourages people to try the place and comment.

    Vital Information's GNR Nomination post on Freddy's is a terrific example of fleshing out the charms of a place and encouraging those who have never been to go.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - September 15th, 2008, 6:44 am
    Post #7 - September 15th, 2008, 6:44 am Post #7 - September 15th, 2008, 6:44 am
    It's also your chance to say something that stands a very good chance of winding up on the certificate. In fact, for some places a pithy summing-up is fairly desperately needed for that purpose...
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  • Post #8 - September 15th, 2008, 6:50 am
    Post #8 - September 15th, 2008, 6:50 am Post #8 - September 15th, 2008, 6:50 am
    Mike G wrote:It's also your chance to say something that stands a very good chance of winding up on the certificate. In fact, for some places a pithy summing-up is fairly desperately needed for that purpose...



    Yes that, too.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - September 15th, 2008, 5:20 pm
    Post #9 - September 15th, 2008, 5:20 pm Post #9 - September 15th, 2008, 5:20 pm
    I went here once and really liked it but arent there some other places around town who have been patiently waiting and deserving of a shout out? Aloha eats, Athenian Room, CND gyros, hamburger King and some others that will pop up are a few I can think of. Do they really need anymore traffic? itll be impossible to get a table there, which is a good thing for them. I do really like this place and hope they some how expand b/c I know why its very popular, its very good and a hell of a value in my book.
  • Post #10 - September 15th, 2008, 5:38 pm
    Post #10 - September 15th, 2008, 5:38 pm Post #10 - September 15th, 2008, 5:38 pm
    One thing that's important to remember is that there's always room for another deserving GNR. Each GNR nomination stands on its individual merits, without being compared to other nominated places. My understanding is that merit is to mean the following:
    dicksond wrote:1. A member must like a place enough to deem it worthy and to nominate it.

    2. Enough other members must also find the place of interest to go there and post on it.

    3. The overall consensus as expressed in the posts must be that the place is pretty good.

    That does not mean the place is the best of its kind, or that everyone loves it, just that it is of interest to enough members, and that almost all of those members have a favorable opinion of the place.
  • Post #11 - September 21st, 2008, 8:45 am
    Post #11 - September 21st, 2008, 8:45 am Post #11 - September 21st, 2008, 8:45 am
    Let me add my support for this nomination. I paid my first visit to Mixteco Grill yesterday morning and very much enjoyed my visit. The passion of the owner is very apparent, and it shows in both the service and, more importantly, the quality of the food. Mixteco Grill was a place that I have had on my list of new places to try since they opened and, if nothing else, this nomination finally got me off the dime. Now that I have been there, I'll be back often.

    Mixteco Uchepos Gratinados
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #12 - September 26th, 2008, 9:21 pm
    Post #12 - September 26th, 2008, 9:21 pm Post #12 - September 26th, 2008, 9:21 pm
    Had dinner at Mixteco for the first time, and it was outstanding. Moles as good as anywhere, and the best cochinita pibil I've ever had, with a much healthier dose of sour orange than I'm used to, balanced terrifically by the rich porkiness. This was one complex and delicious dish. Not everything worked as well: the salmon dish had a very rich, one-dimensional peanut sauce in desperate need of some acid, and though our server suggested (unprompted) that we get it medium rare, and we heartily agreed, it still came out overcooked. But the friendly vibe, big open kitchen, and some truly remarkable dishes made the misstep easily forgivable. I'm now a big Mixteco fan with what is likely to become a very regular cochinita pibil craving.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #13 - September 26th, 2008, 9:49 pm
    Post #13 - September 26th, 2008, 9:49 pm Post #13 - September 26th, 2008, 9:49 pm
    LTH,

    Dinner last Saturday at Mixteco was ~fine~, good service, informed, interested, wait was approximately 45 minutes at 7:30, exactly what they said on the phone. Highlight was ceviche and an interesting salad of crab/potato/avocado. I was not as keen on the fish tacos as my table mates nor was I as enamored with my chochinita pibil as Kenny one post back. I did like the accompanying habanero sauce.

    I may have been in a less than receptive mood as we were shoehorned in so f'n tight I felt like........<sorry,while I thought of 6-7 analogies, I can't think of one that is not offensive in some way or other> and the close quarters put me in a moderately bad mood.

    Frankly, the best part of the evening, aside from the company, was a drink at Scot's, at 3-blocks away the closest bar, for a quiet drink. Actually, a very quiet drink, the street is torn up (Montrose) and the place was dead, even thought the bartender was friendly and made a heck of a drink.

    I'll go back for mid week lunch, but on first blush I do not see the beauty in Mixteco.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - October 2nd, 2008, 10:36 am
    Post #14 - October 2nd, 2008, 10:36 am Post #14 - October 2nd, 2008, 10:36 am
    I have gone to Mixteco multiple times and really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. The chef made a point to 'make the rounds' and visit every table just about every time I can recall.

    Mixteco is like a less expensive but just as good Frontera in my hood! I second this nomination..
    There is no accounting for taste!
  • Post #15 - October 2nd, 2008, 3:40 pm
    Post #15 - October 2nd, 2008, 3:40 pm Post #15 - October 2nd, 2008, 3:40 pm
    Mixteco Grill is a solid nomination, which I happily endorse.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #16 - October 3rd, 2008, 11:29 am
    Post #16 - October 3rd, 2008, 11:29 am Post #16 - October 3rd, 2008, 11:29 am
    I live close to Mixteco and am very glad to have this restaurant nearby. I love their fish tacos, their ceviche, their house-made moles (tried the black, green, red, and somewhat misnamed yellow so far, and each time have ended up practically licking the remains off my plate).

    But that being said, I don't support this restaurant for a GNR. While I think it is a good restaurant, I just don't think it has greatness, at least not yet. I've had some off dishes (a grilled salmon that was quite dry) and several "just pretty good" ones.

    Some have called Mixteco a less-expensive Frontera. On select dishes, I agree. But as a general description, I think it's not there yet (and I don't mean in terms of service polish, but just in terms of the food).

    Again, happy to have it nearby, and will keep eating there. But personally, I just don't think it's quite a GNR yet.

    * Edited to correct typo
  • Post #17 - October 5th, 2008, 9:03 am
    Post #17 - October 5th, 2008, 9:03 am Post #17 - October 5th, 2008, 9:03 am
    G Wiv wrote:I'll go back for mid week lunch, but on first blush I do not see the beauty in Mixteco.

    LTH,

    The bride and I had a pleasant delicious Saturday lunch at Mixteco, which I posted about in the main Mixteco thread.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - March 19th, 2010, 9:07 am
    Post #18 - March 19th, 2010, 9:07 am Post #18 - March 19th, 2010, 9:07 am
    I support renewal for Mixteco Grill. It is one of the best Mexican restaurants in town. Now that they have expanded, it isn't quite as difficult to get a table as it once was. Service is generally excellent. BYO is nice. The main thread has had a steady stream of positive posts, though I realize I never actually posted there!
  • Post #19 - March 19th, 2010, 9:19 am
    Post #19 - March 19th, 2010, 9:19 am Post #19 - March 19th, 2010, 9:19 am
    Mixteco is a huge favorite for me and my wife. I frequently take out-of-town guests to Mixteco to show them what upscale Mexican food is like. And everyone is always very impressed. This is a slam-dunk GNR in my book.
  • Post #20 - March 19th, 2010, 11:45 am
    Post #20 - March 19th, 2010, 11:45 am Post #20 - March 19th, 2010, 11:45 am
    Although I am embarrassed to note that we did not post following our visit, I am very happy to endorse renewal for this place. We've have only been once--sadly (so many places, so little time)--but were both quite impressed on that visit. We enthusiastically support renewal for this well-deserving place.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #21 - March 19th, 2010, 11:51 am
    Post #21 - March 19th, 2010, 11:51 am Post #21 - March 19th, 2010, 11:51 am
    Didn't I read somewhere that Raul Arreola has left the restaurant? Has anyone been there since the change in chefs?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #22 - March 19th, 2010, 11:57 am
    Post #22 - March 19th, 2010, 11:57 am Post #22 - March 19th, 2010, 11:57 am
    stevez wrote:Didn't I read somewhere that Raul Arreola has left the restaurant? Has anyone been there since the change in chefs?


    Yes, it was noted just last Sunday in the main thread: viewtopic.php?p=312274#p312274

    From Phil Vettel:

    I've enjoyed Raul Arreola's food on many occasions, but never while he actually was cooking it.

    The Frontera Grill alum doesn't stay in one spot very long, though his restaurants (and recipes) remain. By the time I got around to reviewing Fonda Del Mar in Logan Square, Arreola was gone, his partners nevertheless doing a fine job with Arreola's dishes, plus many of their own (they've since relocated Fonda Del Mar to North Center).

    Arreola then opened Mixteco Grill, a BYO on the north edge of Lakeview, and then, with different partners, opened Rustico Grill, back in Logan Square, in August. A couple of months ago, Arreola took an extended absence for medical reasons, and he recently informed both sets of partners that he wasn't returning.
  • Post #23 - March 21st, 2010, 4:24 pm
    Post #23 - March 21st, 2010, 4:24 pm Post #23 - March 21st, 2010, 4:24 pm
    Mixteco is my go-to for variety Mexcian from all the Bahena and Bayless alumni. When out-of-towners ask for Mexican recommendations, I try to steer them here rather than Frontera.

    I think this restaurant is very consistent. The tacos ensenada, calamares al ajillo, cochinita pibil, and borrego en mole negro have never failed to impress. Perfectly fried fish, properly sauteed squid and dressed greens, perfectly cooked lamb and balanced sauces. They expanded and didn't miss a beat. I've been back since Chef Arreola appears to have left and things were just as good as ever. A definite renewal in my book.
  • Post #24 - March 23rd, 2010, 11:31 am
    Post #24 - March 23rd, 2010, 11:31 am Post #24 - March 23rd, 2010, 11:31 am
    gastro gnome wrote:Mixteco is my go-to for variety Mexcian from all the Bahena and Bayless alumni. When out-of-towners ask for Mexican recommendations, I try to steer them here rather than Frontera.


    I have engaged in the old ABF (anywhere but Frontera) tactic, as well. People coming to Chicago, heard all these wonderful things about Rick Bayless (mostly true and well-deserved) and the first words from my mouth are something like, "Well, Frontera is a very good restaurant and Rick has done a great service to regional Mexican cuisine, but honestly there are so many other places in Chicago with more focus, just as interesting and high quality food, much easier to get into and on the pocket book, that I rarely go to Frontera any more."
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #25 - March 23rd, 2010, 1:12 pm
    Post #25 - March 23rd, 2010, 1:12 pm Post #25 - March 23rd, 2010, 1:12 pm
    dicksond wrote:
    gastro gnome wrote:Mixteco is my go-to for variety Mexcian from all the Bahena and Bayless alumni. When out-of-towners ask for Mexican recommendations, I try to steer them here rather than Frontera.


    I have engaged in the old ABF (anywhere but Frontera) tactic, as well. People coming to Chicago, heard all these wonderful things about Rick Bayless (mostly true and well-deserved) and the first words from my mouth are something like, "Well, Frontera is a very good restaurant and Rick has done a great service to regional Mexican cuisine, but honestly there are so many other places in Chicago with more focus, just as interesting and high quality food, much easier to get into and on the pocket book, that I rarely go to Frontera any more."

    Are you just baiting me? :wink:
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #26 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:15 am
    Post #26 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:15 am Post #26 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:15 am
    I too have been in the ABF camp. Last August I had a friend come to town who I was unable to convince (he and his wife were enthralled by Top Chef Masters), so we went to Frontera and had a good (albeit expensive) meal. Two nights later, I went with a friend to Mixteco and had an incredible dinner (notably stuffed whole trout), great service, less bustling atmosphere, and at a substantially reduced price tag. Basically back-to-back dinners really sealed the deal for me.

    With that said, I brought two friends who had never been before to Mixteco this Wednesday night and had a poor experience. Ceviche was less than 50% fish (lots of veggie bits) and what was there were tiny, fishy, over-acidulated shards. Empanadas were ok, but nothing to write home about. The mole served with my lamb chops was dead-on, but the night's special ordered by my two friends was not good. "Crab cakes with shrimp" turned out to be seafood pucks with the tightly-bound texture of sausage, sitting in an overly-acidic tomatillo sauce.

    Meals at Mixteco in the past have always left me thinking "why don't I eat here more often?" - Wednesday's meal left no such impression.

    I hate to post about one mediocre meal in the middle of GNR renewal season, but I'd feel remiss in not saying something.

    Anyone else been recently? I see gastro gnome's very recent visit was positive, and a number of other endorsements, though without any indication of how recent the visits were.

    -Dan
  • Post #27 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:25 am
    Post #27 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:25 am Post #27 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:25 am
    dansch wrote:Anyone else been recently? I see gastro gnome's very recent visit was positive, and a number of other endorsements, though without any indication of how recent the visits were.

    yep, went about a month ago and wasn't thrilled. The formerly always-fresh tortillas were stale, and we unfortunately ordered your same crab cakes. Cochinita was still very good though.

    That said, I still support renewal unless there are more people who come out of the woodworks with disappointing experiences. I had been at least a couple of times before the last one, and everything was great.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #28 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:27 am
    Post #28 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:27 am Post #28 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:27 am
    dansch wrote:Anyone else been recently?


    I'm glad you asked; I'm getting the sense that a lot of multiple comments on GNRs don't include visits within the 2 year GNR period.

    To answer, I've been to Mixteco within the last month, and had a good experience. (I haven't commented either way on its GNR because I don't feel like this one and only visit there gave me enough of a sense of the restaurant.) Unless something has changed drastically in the kitchen over the last three weeks, maybe they just had an off-night?
  • Post #29 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:34 am
    Post #29 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:34 am Post #29 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:34 am
    aschie30 wrote:Unless something has changed drastically in the kitchen over the last three weeks, maybe they just had an off-night?
    It's quite possible it was an off night, which is why I was cautious to post, but given the news about Chef Arreola's now-permanent departure, I thought it worth bringing up. Without the same chef at the helm things don't necessarily go downhill, but they certainly can get less consistent.

    -Dan
  • Post #30 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:45 am
    Post #30 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:45 am Post #30 - April 2nd, 2010, 8:45 am
    dansch wrote:
    aschie30 wrote:Unless something has changed drastically in the kitchen over the last three weeks, maybe they just had an off-night?
    It's quite possible it was an off night, which is why I was cautious to post, but given the news about Chef Arreola's now-permanent departure, I thought it worth bringing up. Without the same chef at the helm things don't necessarily go downhill, but they certainly can get less consistent.

    -Dan


    True, but I think Arreola has been gone a long time now (at least as long as Rustico Grill has been open, I think).

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