I FINALLY went to Rick Bayless’ new restaurant Xoco in Chicago’s River North (2.5/5 Stars).

Posted by ChicagoismynewBlog! on November 8, 2009

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!


The Pepito sandwich!



3 Responses to “I FINALLY went to Rick Bayless’ new restaurant Xoco in Chicago’s River North (2.5/5 Stars).”

  1. Chris said

    I actually had that same sandwich when I was there, thought it was great and didn’t think the price was all that bad. Course maybe that was the influence of the Matilda I had with it 🙂

  2. David said

    While I like the food, I agree that it is far from inexpensive. Where in the world is $12 for a sandwich that comes solo cheap? Truth is, one can have lunch at Frontera for less than lunch runs at Xoco. While the Pepito sandwich is dynamite, I could use a few chips and some salsa for $12.

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