Rick Bayless is a white dude who has made his hay as a chef reinterpreting Mexican cuisine for today’s palette. From Chicago to LA and San Fran he has built an empire of such restaurants and won the esteem of reviewers and patrons alike. The Monster is intrigued to give XOCO a try.
But things start out less than smoothly because the ordering/seating system at this casual neighbor of Frontera Grill makes as much sense as making kids take algebra in school.
You wait in line and are given a number which is to correspond to where you sit. Except no tables or counter space is numbered. After you order at the counter someone is supposed to bring you to your assigned seat. This is poppycock and doesn’t happen with The Monster. So he waits. At the wrong seat. Finally someone brings him to his assigned seat. Which is at a high counter looking into a wall. Jolly.
When the food does arrive appetizer and entree come at the same time. Woohoo does that suck donkey balls. Also, no silverware or napkins are offered and none are available where The Monster is seated.
Yes, the customizable guac and chips are insanely flavorful. Roasted garlic tomatillo guac with petitas and just made chips would be even better if The Monster could enjoy them before his torta. This does not happen.
So the Baja Chicken with homemade chipotle mayo, Napa cabbage/radish slaw and black beans arrives simultaneously. Never mind there is little room on the counter for all this food. Not napkins or silverware. Who knows what happens if you need a refill at this shitshow?
The torta is lovely. So much going on it’s a symphony in your mouth. You’re getting Rick Bayless food at Payless prices. Too bad you have to put up with an inept system to enjoy it.
Why go? You crave chaos.
Monster rating: 3/5 Monsters
449 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60654