Thursday, September 4, 2008

Real Tenochtitlan

I'm leaving for Denver tomorrow morning. I can't wait to get out of town, but am sad that J isn't joining me. So, we decided to go out to dinner tonight. I've been dying to try out Real Tenochtitlan.

Some of you may remember Ixcapulzaco, a great restaurant on Milwaukee north of Logan that served authentic mole sauces, focusing on a different mole every night. I took my parents there shortly after I moved to the neighborhood (well, tried to take them, I wanted to give them a big thanks for all of the help they gave me buying my condo, but my dad refused to let me pay, so I guess I got another free meal).

The chef, Geno Bahena, worked at Frontera Grill with Rick Bayless and has received nothing but the highest praise. However, he can't really seem to keep a restaurant open.

I feel like a traitor even saying it. Every review of his new restaurant, Tenochtitlan only mentions his past endeavor under a veil of the highest praise. But Ixcapuzalco eventually closed. They moved into an empty restaurant space on Western. A former Mexican restaurant called La Bonita, whose sign they never even changed. We went one time and the service was a disaster. That closed as well.

And now, Real Tenochtitlan has opened. Great reviews, and, greatest of all for me, it is still BYO.

So, trying to balance the desires to avoid the terrible weather with the need to leave the house and my desire to support the newest place in the 'hood that I still haven't tried out, we went.

The space is great, I really liked it. I am a regular reader of my neighborhood yahoo listserv and have read a lot of reviews of the restaurant (the people on the listserv are not afraid to express their opinions. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll comment on some of it again in the future). Almost every single one praised the food, a few didn't like the interior.

The food was good. If you've been to Ixcapuzalco you would first recognize that the menu is EXACTLY the same. One side with the mole of the day, served with your choice of fish, meat or poultry, the other side with appetizers and other dinner specials. In the exact same format, changing only the name of the restaurant at the top.

Thursday night special is the Verde mole which we both had. Jason loved it. I liked it.

"I liked it" I guess that encapsulates my whole experience.

Forgive me again for being a traitor, but while the idea of mole always drives me wild, the reality of it leaves me wanting. Every time. I think I always want more kick than I get. I guess it's just not really my thing.

I love supporting local businesses. I love the idea of spending good amounts of my money within a mile radius of my home. I love eating food grown less than one state away as well, we'll get into that later.

The service was good, couldn't have been nicer. "I liked it" Entrees were around $20, and with a couple of coffees afterwards it really wasn't so bad. Not the cheapest byo night ever, but not going to break the bank. I liked it.

So, I feel a little all over the place with my review. I guess I want to love the place. But I liked it. I want everyone I know to try it out. There's nothing I love more than supporting my local businesses. So GO! Enjoy it! Bring your friends. I'll probably go with you, unless I can manage to remember that mole doesn't really do it for me. Maybe I should try a different dish.

1 comment:

Rosemarie said...

I love mole too. And if it's not good, then it's disappointing. The best mole I had was in Milwaukee at this hole in a wall restuarant under the expressway. Go figure!