In Pilsen, Mundial Cocina Mestiza or May St. Cafe?
My husband is truning 39 Friday and he loves Pilsen. I want to take him and 2 of our close friends to Mexican there. Which place has better food and atmosphere?
Also: where to go for a pre or post dinner cocktail? Looking for the best margarita in low key cute little place. thanks!
I have heard and read good things about May Street Cafe. I would definitely go there over Mundial. I had a terrible experience there and DO NOT RECOMMEND IT!!
We had a reservation at 8:30 and were not seated until 9:15. Our food came out cold and flavorless and not at the same time. When we informed the chef of our bad service, long wait and nasty food, she told us "they were overwhelmed" and offered us flan, which was disgusting. This was a terrible experience and a waste of time. DO NOT EAT HERE!
Pancho Pistolas is "cute", and quite good. The best carne asada around. Lot's of great dishes. Nice exposed brick modern space. It's in Bridgeport though...31st and Union which is one block east of Halsted. Everything is great except for the margarita's.
We should all hope both these places work through their growing pains and end up successful. They are both independent restaurants trying to make good food. Having said that, my wife and I went to May Street Cafe a week or two after it was reviewed on Check Please. As I've posted before, we had very good food but very bad service. They were totally overwhelmed. I haven't been to Mundial but will go there soon. Let's hope both these places get it together.
We decided on May St Cafe. Our reservation was pushed back by the restaurant from 8 to 8:30pm. We arrived at 8:30pm and were not seated until 9:05pm. this was frustrating, as we were a party of 6 and were there for my husband's birthday and there is nowhere to stand without getting knocked into. The staff gave us two free orders of quesadillas, though, which was nice. Both were chorizo, though and I felt there were a little bit salty. Once we sat, I took a look around and decidedly loved the decor...very cozy..I love the little flowers and candles on each table and the paintings of the fish on the walls. along the wall, though, are many people shoved into corners trying to get in. Very hectic that way and the staff seems overwhelmed.
As for the food, I enjoyed the chips and salsa. The chips were thicker than I am used to (or like) but I liked their texture--very corn based. Salsa was also good. We ordered shrimp and then brie and pear quesadillas, both were pretty good. Also ordered guacamole, which was above average. the standouts to me were: the side order of fried plantains (very crispy and warm--although they came with a side of garlic aoili, which I found to be a strange pairing).
As for the main dishes: I enjoyed my husband's cinnamon chiptole chicken fajitas, as the sauce was very different; sweet and creamy. My pork dish (the second on the menu) was dry and overcooked. The shrimp diablo pasta was good ordered hot, but not something I would normally order at a mexican restaurant.
For dessert, I brought a cake, which they brought over for me (it was disappointing when I called to tell them of a birthday to have them respond, "don't expect anything on the house").
The staff was friendly and attentive, albeit very busy and understaffed. I will definitely return again.
Thanks for sharing your choice and experience, ljero. I live in Pilsen and have never been to May St Cafe. I'll definitely give it a shot.
Since this seems to be the only thread re: Mundial Cocina Mestiza, I'll offer my recommendation here. I went to Mundial for my birthday in December and went back a couple weeks ago. I love the place.
The not-so-good (although definitely not bad): The atmosphere is fine, but nothing to write home about. It's cozier in the back room than in the front.
The good: The food is awesome for the cost, it's in the 'hood, it's a small family-run place, and it's BYO, which makes the whole evening a lot less expensive than it would be at a place that serves alcohol -- at least for my crowd.
Their menu is posted on MenuPages:
I've really enjoyed almost everything I've eaten at Mundial. One of the fish dishes I've tried, maybe the tilapia, was a little bland. But otherwise, my experiences have been all positive. A couple things deserve a special mention:
1. Mundial is serving some creative dishes, using fresh ingredients, clearly prepared with care. I like Nuevo Leon as much as the next girl, but I'm thrilled to see a few places like Mundial succeeding in Pilsen.
2. I had an entree featuring a meat, rice, and vegetable concoction stuffed in a chili, lightly breaded. Sorry for the obtuse description. I don't see this dish on MenuPages, but it was out of this world.
3. The rice pudding. Pure decadent delight.