Xoco Wicker Park

xoco wicker park opening day Chicago Rick Bayless 3rdarm

It was the very first service and I was super impressed. The last time I had been in the restaurant was over a year ago, right after Salud was gutted. The historic building has been transformed into a beauty of the neighborhood. The stainless steel kitchen shines a spotlight on the heart of the restaurant, the wood-burning oven. DF’s Ángel de la Independencia looks over the dining room.

xoco wicker park opening day Chicago Rick Bayless 3rdarm nick murway

The service was warm: the staff have been well-trained. We started with the queso fundido, served with chips and salsa. The cheese was delicious and there were generous amounts of caramelized onion and green poblano chile, as well as spicy chorizo. The torta ahogada and pepito were as good as the last time I had them.

xoco wicker park opening day Chicago Rick Bayless 3rdarm

Etta had a Negra Modelo on draft and I drank a pulpy, naturally sweet agua fresca made from Nichols Farm late summer cantaloupe. The best was the churro, just slightly thicker than at Xoco 1, providing even more golden crispiness.

All in all a great first step: new space, big ambitions, Xoco on the up!

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