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chiles & chocolate oaxacan kitchen

Has anyone been there lately? Thinking of going there tonight.

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  1. 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.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jinx

      checked it out on friday night. while its definetely an improvement over the weird olive vine american grill, my food was mediocore at best. the mole lacked zing- totally flat, as was the guac. i actally thought it would be better considering the preachy menu.

    2. 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/
      also: http://www.restaurantgirl.com/restaur...
      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.

      1 Reply
      1. re: famdoc

        Thanks for the reviews. I've been meaning to check this place out.

        My fiancee and I were walking down 5th Avenue last night around 8:30 and we noticed that nearly every restaurant was packed. (Well, all except for Star of India...poor Star of India.)

      2. 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.

        1. What's the address?? Sounds like a real gem for Park Slope.

          1. 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!

            1. I agree. I do eat fish on occasion, but other than that, I am a vegetarian. As such, options are limited. I did taste the mole from my GF's dish, and I thought it was good, but I suspect that it works better eating the mole in concert with the chicken or other meat. As I stated in an earlier post, the guacamole was a disappointment. It was bland and seemed to me to be a very small portion for the price, but it isn't avacodo season I suppose. That said, I will return. My analysis can be summed up as follows: They have potential, but need to prove themselves.

              1. I would love to try C&COK, but am severely allergic to peanuts (I don't eat in Thai restaurants at all for fear of cross-contamination). Any sense of whether I can step foot in this place and not risk an allergic reaction?

                1. If you are peanut allergic, you are probably aware of all of the cross-reacting legumes and the widespread use of peanut oils in food preparation. You are also probably aware that many non-peanut foods are prepared on surfaces or put into containers by machines that also handle peanuts. You are therefore severely limited in your dining choices. What an unfortunate situation. You are not alone...there is an exploding number of peanut-allergic individuals in our society now. There are even support groups and on-line forums.

                  Please check the expiration date on your Epi-pen and carry it with you at all times!

                  1. We tried to eat at C&C last night (Saturday) but had a frustrating experience. We arrived at 8:45 seeking a 4-top. They were packed (also tiny, and take no reservations) and suggested we go somewhere for a drink. They estimated 40 minutes wait, and took our cell number. An hour later, they hadn't called, so we walked back. The same parties were sitting at the tables, no longer eating, just lingering. The host told us she still couldn't seat us and urged us to go back out and hang for a while. We ended up waiting a total of 1 1/2 hours and never got a table; finally, past 10, we hopped in the car, drove to Noodle Pudding, and had a lovely dinner. (C&C called us as we were getting seated at NP.) We had really wanted to try C&C. But if you have only a few tables, won't take reservations, and won't suggest to lingering diners that they allow the table to turn over, then a lot of people will walk away without dinner. Perhaps they'll get their best business from deliveries.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: starfish

                      There are worse fates than eating at Noodle Pudding! I ate there a few times years ago and loved it...never had a bad dish.

                      1. re: starfish

                        I've had the same problem -- trying to get in with a party of four. It's TINY - maybe 5 two-tops and two or three round tables.
                        I've gone elsewhere twice, 'cause I'm not willing to wait and it's close to home.

                        I guess I'll be glad if I ever get in to linger.

                      2. This is really too small a restaurant to count on a Saturday night table. When warm weather comes, there'll be tables in the garded. In the meanwhile, I'd continue to eat there weeknights or take out.

                        1. We ordered in from Chilies and Choc and delivery time was decent. We thought the mole was great, though the pork could have been a little more tender.

                          The guacomole was bland--lacked enough lime and cilantro.

                          The tamales were very very dry, but were good with lots of hot sauce.
                          We will definitely try out other things on their menu... especially the mole entrees..

                          1. was there for lunch the other day and there weren't many in the restaurant. the waitress couldn't have been nicer. i had flank steak med. rare and it was good and basic. i thought the guac had a nice bit of bite to it. a friend ordered the special hen..i was shocked when the bill came and it was $21! (but maybe my friend knew that and ordered anyway.) i will def. go back ...but i'm not regularly spending $17 on lunch (since i eat lunch out in the slope every day...try to keep it $10 and under.)
                            it was very cold in the restaurant tho...they need a heater for the floor. i don't enjoy being physically uncomfortable in a sit-down restaurant.

                            1. Has anyone been brave enough to try the fried grasshoppers? My husband and I did. It took me a couple of glasses of wine. The only think in my head now is ... I swallowed a bug....on purpose!

                                1. Dinner at C&C two weeks ago. Must go early to get seated...as you know, the room is very small. Highlight, for us, was grilled fish served with choice of three moles (we asked the owner to suggest which would go best...ended up with a green mole). Two thumbs up.

                                  1. Had lunch there today. It was not crowded at all. Only three tables: myself, two older "ladies" and one hipster couple. Maybe it was the "intimacy" of the room or something, but the 3 tables started chit-chatting with each other, comparing notes, and then the woman there (the owner's sister?) joined in...

                                    I agree with fmogul's girlfriend (see post above) that the torilla soup was excellent -- and piping hot on this frigid day. I also agree with jinx and simsum that the tamales were a bit dry and bland. Mine were filled with cheese and a smidge of salsa verde, but when I obtained extra salsa on the side, they were delicious! The other tables were raving about their mole dishes too. The "ladies" suggested a mole tasting menu to the woman in charge, and she thought that sounded like a wonderful idea. Finally, I really enjoyed the hot chocolate made with chipotle.

                                    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I would suggest going for lunch, if you are anywhere near Park Slope on a weekday, to avoid the crowdedness. Don't forget to ask for extra sauce if you order tamales. Next time I am going to try one of the mole dishes and/or grilled shrimp. If they decide to do a mole tasting menu, I'm definitely there! Based on a few of the other postings above, the guacamole should probably be avoided though...

                                    1. NOT GOOD.

                                      All the meat is very dry - except for the chicken in the tortilla soup (the tortilla soup is better than Maria's, but this is the only thing). This restaurant is a total disappointment, from the salsa and chips they put on the table at the beginning (salsa needed salt and more acid) to the mole (decent sauce but terribly dry pork and very bland rice and beans - Maria's is much better in this department). The duck was lame, too. The sauce just wasn't strong enough - a little peanutty, that's all. The ceviche: really a shrimp salad, with cooked shrimp mixed in their pico de gallo in a tortilla shell. Lame.

                                      The best part is that you can bring your own wine. We bought a Marques de Riscal Rioja that went very well with the mole negro - good chocolate wine.

                                      I was dying to go to this restaurant -- don't get too excited about it. I'm more interested now in going to Palo Santo, which looks like a much better restaurant. Have been to Maria's many, many times, and even though it can be sort of spotty, you usually have one or two really good things. Chiles and Choc. is completely sub par.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: 4rx318

                                          I completely agree. Had a very dissappointing experience there last night. The menu was wrong, my friend is allergic to gluten (in flour tortillas), so ordered a dish made with CORN tortillas, and when it arrived with flour tortillas and we complained to the waitress, her response was "yeah, alot of things on the menu are wrong". They did comp it, but not like my friend could eat it anyway....? The wait was long, they turned away at least 3 couples that we saw as they were saving a 4 top (for a group of 4?), so I suppose they don't really need the business. IMO they are a little too full of themselves for such a new restaurant. Food was ok, prices were high for what it was, and the air seemed smokey and poorly circulated. I miss Oscar's. Try Bonita in Williamsburg, Maria's or Cafe Mexicano in Park Slope, or even Tacqueria to scratch your mexican itch.

                                        2. Went for brunch a couple of times. The breakfast burritos were delicious. The corn-fungus quesadilla, so so -- the fungus was overpowered by the cheese. The complimentary sweet breads were festive and delicious. decent coffee and hot chocolate.

                                          Wouldn't go for dinner as it's quite out of the way.