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Review: Tepatulco, opened 1/2007

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Last night we went to Tepatulco, Geno Bahena's new restaurant, which I picked because I enjoyed his Ixcapuzalco, and Chilpancingo, and because I missed the great food we had in the Yucatan on a recent trip. It was so good that I was moved to join this board and file a report -- we had that good a meal, and a thoroughly pleasant evening.

The Ceviche Tepatulco, which someone mentioned negatively in another thread, was superb -- a smooth but complex combination of flavors - lime, manzanillo olives, chile serrano, tomatillo, avacado, and cilantro, with big (for ceviche) chunks of perfectly marinated marlin. Tasty! Others in the group had the squash blossom soup, and the picaditas de chapulines (black beans and...grasshoppers!), and were very pleased. Even the ensalada tepatulco was special - a huge portion of field greens, with cilantro, cheese and tortilla strips, and an unusual lime dressing. I was warned that the chiles rellenos de huitlacoche appetizer was hot -- and it was -- spicy jalapenos stuffed with a mushroom filling and served with a cooler tomato/garlic/cheese sauce. A nice juxtaposition of hot and cool.

Main courses were equally successful - the rack of lamb was served in a Oaxacan black mole with that marvelous combination of spicy hot and chocolate, carne asada pleased the less adventurous, shrimp with a chipotle cream sauce was very fresh and successful, and the enchiladas vegetarianas were surprisingly flavorful. I would have liked to see a fish dish in addition to the shrimp and scallops offerings, but we can't have everything, I guess.

I did not have room for dessert, but the flan and the coconut pie drew raves from the others.

And by the way -- watch out for the house margarita...about as potent as I have had in a while!

The only downside is the decor of the second room - it felt a bit cavernous. Perhaps they haven't redecorated since taking over the space. But the food was so good, and service so pleasant, that the setting did not matter.

Tepatulco, 2558 North Halsted, 773-472-7419 (they have a website too)

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