‘Mexique’ by Kirstin Massmann
Last week I had the pleasure of going with the marketing team to a 2011 Chicago Bib Gourmand restaurant for lunch. Mexique, a French influenced Mexican restaurant, is located just east of Ashland on Chicago. Executive Chef Carlos Gaytan creates dishes that resemble the time when France occupied Mexico in the 1860’s and blends them beautifully.
We began our lunch with Tinga de Pollo (tostaditas topped with chipotle shredded chicken and finished with crème fraiche and cilantro). If you could believe it, it tasted even better than it looks! This appetizer was absolutely delicious. It had just enough chipotle heat to warrant the crème fraiche. At first bite I knew it would be tough for anything else to ‘out-flavor’ this dish.
Our next round of appetizers was the Sopes de Chorizo (sopes with black beans, chorizo, sour cream and jalapeno relish). I didn’t think anything could beat the Tinga de Pollo however this dish came seriously close. Sopes is traditionally (more or less) a thick tortilla with pinched sides topped with meat and vegetables. I casually joked about the sopes being an adult, Mexican bagel bite…but really, this appetizer was also great. As far as I’m concerned I could have had two plates of Tinga de Pollo and Sopes de Chorizo and called it a day.
Instead we carried on to entrées. The rest of the table made the decision to mix and match tacos including duck leg confit with roasted onions and pineapple relish, also tilapia with negra moledo batter, mexique slaw and chipotle aioli and others sounding just as delicious. Unfortunately I took the path less taken, the huraches. I ordered the Huarache Vegetariano. This very large dish begun with an oval shaped corn masa infused with fresh thyme topped with black beans, nopale stew with chile guajillo and toped with avocado, queso panela and onion relish. Needless to say it was very good, however it became too much of the same thing. Kathy Baggs made the great point that it would have been a fantastic appetizer so everyone could have a few bites, however as an entrée it was just too much.
Despite me wanting more variety for an entree, the experience, food, and atmosphere of Mexique was fantastic and I look forward to returning next time for dinner and possibly a few drinks also.