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Zocalo-Review (Long-ish)

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So, my two friends and I ate at Zocalo last evening. All in all, it was good, but not good enough to make me want to go back.
We each started off with a fruit margarita. I had the guava, one friend had the prickly pear, the other had blood orange. Guava was delicious, as was prickly pear, but blood orange left something to be desired. We ordered a bottle of red to go with our meal..a relatively inexpensive Spanish Tempranillo. I knew I should have chosen the Chilean! Anyway, it was okay, and, with the food, a little better.
We just ordered a series of small plates and shared everything. We had read about the Guacamole trio, so we had to sample it. It comes with a dollop of traditional, spicy and fruity guacamoles with a variety of tortilla chips, plantain chips, and chips from something like jicima. All chips were good. Spicy guacamole was the best. Fruit guacamole was not to our taste.
Next we had the tamale trio...one black bean, one cheese, and one chicken. Black bean was pretty bland. Cheese was good, as was the chicken. None was particluarly memorable.
Next we ordered the flaming cheese...huh, are we in Greektown? It was actually really good. It came with the same spicy sauce as the spicy guacamole. The cheese was as mild as mozzarella but saltier. One friend didn't really like it.
We also ordered the skewer..it comes with two chicken, one beef, and one shrimp. The shrimp skewer had exactly two shrimp...good thing one friend doesn't like shrimp! All were good, but again, nothing was out of this world. The mini-tortillas that came with were okay.
We ordered the shrimp ceviche...even the friend that doesn't like shrimp sampled this one. Way to go Rebekah!! It was very good, not outstanding.
For dessert, we had the traditional flan and the tres leches cake and coffee all around. My friends both really liked the flan...in my opinion it had an odd taste. I really love flan, and have had some remarkable ones in the past. This really didn't measure up. None of us had ever had a tres leches cake before, so we had nothing to compare this one to. However, it didn't really do it for us. Coffee was good.
I must say that the service was really great. Hostesses were friendly, bartenders were also. Our server, Jose, was awesome! The bill for all that we ordered...pre-dinner drinks, bottle of wine, dinner, dessert, and coffee, tax and tip came to $46 each. Not bad. I don't think any of us were stuffed, but very comfortably full. Portions are pretty small, but that allows you to sample more. I think the quality of the food doesn't measure up to the prices. I would much rather go to Adobo for the same style of cuisine, or to some tapas place for the same concept.
Not a bad experience at all, but not one that would make me go out of my way to come back..it's a bit off the beaten path.

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  1. Having actually been to Zocalo Square in Mexico City, my expectations for Zocalo, the Chicago outlet, might have been a little high. It was for my birthday dinner that my boyfriend had treated me to, so two things were on my mind: getting lots of juicy drinks, and stuffing my birthday belly silly.

    The first point was satisfied, the hibiscus martini at Zocalo was perfect. I could swear up and down a bartender's manual that there was tequila, but it was only made with organic juice and vodka. Our appetizers were more of a crap shoot. The inexpensive flautas in chicken and beef flavor came in an amazing tomatillo-serrano sauce and were some of the best flautas I'd ever tasted. Our taste of ceviche were three tiny little puddles of fish, surrounded by some gorgeous cucumber garnish, but two out of three, were not great.

    Our entrees were the Corn Mushroom crepes and the trio of tacos (Barbacoa, Roasted Pork, and Chicken). I had grown obsessed with corn fungus while in Mexico, so my excitement for a reunion with the tricky mushroom was mounting. The crepes was overwhelmed by the cheese and the mushrooms had a dirty sort of flavor to them. My boyfriend's barbacoa was perfect so I cobble together delicious tacos from my corn mushroom crepes and his barbacoa. Just work with what you've got.

    The waiter was nice enough to comp our flan since it was my birthday, but less could be said of the Hostess, who tried to seat us by this horrible galley table in a busy traffic area (even though the restaurant was half empty and boothes were available) but for subsequent guests (we were watching), she sat them in comfortable, large booths. Hrrrumph.

    We would go back for the drinks, barbacoa, and the flautas. But get rid of that hostess!