chiles & chocolate oaxacan kitchen
Has anyone been there lately? Thinking of going there tonight.
Yep we went last night, was about to post a review. We really enjoyed it--the moles and preparations seemed quite authentic to us (we've been twice to Oaxaca.) We had a long talk with the owner--turns out he is the same guy that owns the two stores selling Latin American arts on 7th Ave (can't recall the name right now.) Really nice guy. He is from Oaxaca, and the chefs in the kitchen are his sister and brother-in-law; both from Oaxaca. He also mentioned that his sister had been the chef at Alma. He imports his chocolate and most ingredients and is using Majorduomo chocolate in the moles. Grasshoppers are still on their way in, though---perhaps they are stuck in customs :-)
Anyway, the place was mobbed when we arrived (early, at 6:30) and so service was a bit harried but totally friendly. There's not alot of room in there. Oddly by the time we left (8ish) there were plenty of tables. They are doing a brisk take-out business. The owner told us that in the warmer months there's a garden with 20 seats, so that should help. Its also BYOB at least for now.
Oh, we had starters of soft tacos with chipotle chicken, and taquitos with oaxacan cheese...both tasted like we remembered eating in Oaxaca. Mains were duck in a peanut-chile sauce (the sauce was awesome, the duck a little too well done for me, but still good); and pork in mole negro for my husband---the mole was perfect. Sweet tamales with raisins and chocolate for dessert--yummy but a bit dry so could have used a little sauce of some kind, but perhaps that's not traditional.
We're really happy to have this place in the 'hood, for sure.
Did take-out this week. Highlight were grilled shrimp. Generous portion. Shrimp were marinaded in chili-infused marinade, then grilled. Served with rice and salsa/tortilla chips.
Owner stopped to chat as I waited for my order. Several items on menu not yet available, including mexican ice cream (sure hope it's Palapa Azul: http://www.palapazul.com/
and also: http://www.edlevineeats.com/2006/09/p...
and plenty more).
A helpful waitress/cashier made my choices easy: she was able to clarify the ingredients in various dishes and offer me opinions on "what's best."
When word gets out, this small room will be packed.
I ate here about two weeks ago. Very friendly owner and he seems to care a great deal about the food. The salmon was good, but I will try the shrimp next time. The mole sauces were excellant! The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was the guacamole. It essentially tasted like plain avocado. As I'm not familiar with Oaxacan cuisine, perhaps this is authentic, but I would pass on it next time. I will definitely go back. Can't wait till it gets warm to eat in the garden. By the way, I wasn't dissapointed that the grasshoppers weren't in yet.
It's on 7th Ave., between Lincoln Place and St. John, in the former pizza slice joint. We enjoyed our meals last night, though being more or less vegetarian, we're missing out on the main showcase dishes. The grilled vegetables mole was okay, but not brilliant. My GF thought the tortilla soup excellent. We had tacos la cazuela as an appetizer with mushrooms, and they were very good (probably even better con carne o pollo), and at $4, they're a steal. You could get out very cheaply indeed, getting those and an order of soup or salad. In other regards, the place doesn't quite have its act together; the waiters were friendly, but not really 'fluent' in the ways of Oaxacan food. The tables are a little cramped. The menu doesn't accurately reflect what's offered (no nopales, yet, and a few other glitches). The music was pretty lame. But overall, I'd agree that it's a nice addition to the nabe, and I'll be back to try other things. Also: until they get a license, it's BYO, so stop by with a bottle and make the most of it!