So after opening up a couple months ago, all I’ve heard is that everyone I know in Chicago wants to go to Rick Bayless’ new restaurant, Xoco, located at 449 North Clark Street. I wanted to visit Xoco because I had heard it was more of a fast food and more inexpensive version of Rick’s other restaurants, Topolobampo and Frontera Grill. While I agree that Xoco is both of the above, it’s still expensive as hell. I spent over $19.00 for my meal which is not what I consider inexpensive.
I ordered the Pepito ($12.00) which is braised Tallgrass shortribs, caramelized onion, artisan Jack cheese, black beans, pickled jalapenos. Now, I have to admit, the Pepito was an awesome sandwich. Now, I’m sure Rick Bayless would hate to have his sandwich described as a much better Portillo’s Italian beef sandwich but that’s all I thought about when I was eating it. Personally, I would take this as a compliment because Portillo’s Italian beefs are awesome. I also had an order of fresh chips and Frontera guacamole ($4.00) and one homemade churro ($1.25). Obviously I could have gone without the churro in order to save money, but I felt like the chips and guac were necessary. You know how a burger comes with fries? Well, this sandwich didn’t come with anything else.
My sister ordered the Gunthorp Chicken sandwich which is wood-roasted red chile chicken, caramelized onion, black beans, avocado and tomatillo salsa ($8.50). She didn’t like it and only finished half of the sandwich. I thought it was alright, but the red chile sauce was so thick and almost chalky in texture.
Our friends both ordered the slow-cooked pork carnitas with potato-masa dumplings, chayote, roasted serrano chile, spinach, arugula, avocado…all in soup form ($11.50). Neither of them liked it and for one, it was too spicy and painful to even finish. Again, I thought it was good but not $11.50 good. Everyone but me ordered the hot chocolate and althought it was very rich for two of the three, I thought it was awesome…think melted chocolate mixed with a teaspoon of water. That’s how rich it was.
The service and food came out very fast and they definitely have it down to a ‘T’ so I give them props for that. Too bad Xoco isn’t larger because it could definitely use more tables at times. Click HERE for their menu!