Real Tenochtitlan - Southern Mexican in Logan Sq.
This is a new Geno Bahena(sp?) restaurant. They say he's a mole master around town. The food is much alike to Tepatulco, another G.B. restaurant in Lincoln Park, dishes consist of a protein of choice over a daily rotating selection of mole/sauce. This location is BYOB, until a permit allows otherwise.
I entered this new establishment, north of Fullerton on Milwaukee Ave, with an open mind and a bottle of Malbec. It nice and open, bright - maybe too bright for some, and complimented with regional Oaxacan art. We were quickly seated amongst the diners filling twenty out of the forty or so tables. Aside from a group slamming crappy tequila, the atmosphere among the patrons was quiet, though it was a chilly Tuesday night.
We started off with a flavorful minced marlin seviche ($7.50) served on fried tortillas with roasted salsa verde. The mixture was quite lime-y but smoothed out with the addition of green olives. The salsa was pretty damn good though*- overall a plus, nothing too extraordinary. -* a side of salsa verde costs $3 , which I reluctantly turned down. b/c I was ready to start drinking it out of the bowl I would've had to order three sides of it.
We followed the appetizer with the daily mole ($20), Amarillo. The plating was what I expected - lots of mole, a fan of protein and a mound of rice. Our mole was accompanied by a duck breast. The rice and the duck were cooked perfectly. The mole was very aromatic and savory but I would have enjoyed it a little more spicy.
We also ordered Nopales (cactus paddles) con Mariscos ($21) in a creamy chipotle sauce. I am a man that loves his sauce and this stuff, along with a mound of perfectly cooked shrimp, squid, marlin and scallops, was phenomenal. It was plate licking good. (at the request of my dining partner, I opted out of licking the plate)
There were several great looking meals - ostrich, rack of lamb, Pato Adobado, stuffed chiles.... - that we hope to hear about on any future posts. Overall, I was a satisfied diner.
The service was excellent. In fact, we were in awe of one of the food runners that served a scorching hot plate to us out of his bare hand. I hope he's okay; I couldn't hold my hand over the thing! FYI - The corkage fee is $6.
It worth a visit, especially if you're in the neighborhood.
Its is now May 2009 and my first visit to Real Tenochtitlan (around 9 months after opening). First of all, I wasnt' expecting the huge double-story space when I walked in. Its a very unassuming storefront on a still under-developed stretch of Milwaukee. It sort of reminded me of Carnivale, but with a distinct mexican flavor. We popped in for a quick bite since Mr. Eaterlover is a fierce critic of moles other than his own. I only had a chance to try one dish, which was the venison. The mole accompaning the venison was excellent, spicy, sweet, smokey and complex. I'm not sure if venison was the right pairing since I couldn't taste the meat at all, but it was still oddly delicious. I'm definitely going to return with a larger party so that I can sample more moles and take advantage of the still BYOB status.