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November 10, 2011

2

Chilam Balam

by gastronomicbypass

Website

In one word – Unwelcome

Location – 3023 N. Broadway (Broadway and Wellington)

Food – Given that head chef and co-owner, Chuy Valencia, is on this season of Top Chef, my eating partners and I had to go check out what the hype was about.  Note:  They serve their food on small plates, so despite the extensive list of food that follows, we weren’t porkers during the meal.  We started with the guacamole.  There was nothing truly unusual about the execution, but they executed well.  We then had the young green salad, which was served with jicama, oranges, avocado (they didn’t skimp!) and candied pepitas.  Those pepitas were an awesome alternative to the candied pecans you usually see in a salad.    Then we had the shitake mushroom empanadas.  This was probably my least favorite item – I wanted it to be more substantial, but that was tough to do with just a veggie filling.  After that, we had chicken flautas, which were served in this flavorful chipotle sauce.  This was my favorite dish of the night – highly recommend.  We finished dinner with the mahi mahi special of the day.  It was a substantial piece of fish and was served with blue potatoes (love) and brussel sprouts (also love).  Impressed with the dish, but liked the flautas more.  Now time for dessert (no judgment please):  We picked the chocolate mousse which had a spice goat cheese center and was served with marshmallow sauce.  My eating partners exhibited restraint when eating this treat.  But, not me!  I pushed through despite the richness of the dish.  No regrets!

Drink – It’s BYOB here, cost saver!

Service – This is where I have my beef.  I made a reservation and happened to be 10 minutes late (LSD traffic is OOC these days!).  Our server was giving my eating partners (who were on time) a hard time about it.  He made it very clear that they need to turn over tables fast – not the way to make your guests feel welcome.  On the menu, it advises you to “eat it and beat it” and dictates a 2 beer maximum…for a BYOB place.  What is this?  Ed Debevics?  I get that they want manage their tables, but you can’t do it at the expense of the customer experience.  Honestly I felt unwelcome during the entire meal.  Not cool.

Scene – The restaurant itself is very vibrant and filled with energy.  That being said, the vibe of the place is super casual.

Occasion – There were a few larger groups seated and the rest of the tables were filled with 2-4 people.  The space itself is not that big, so it’s probably better to come with a small group.  Because of their need to turn tables, I wouldn’t come here for a leisurely date.  Come when you want to experience good food in the most efficient way.

Dress – Don’t bother with the fancy dress, keep it comfortable and casual.

Price – Cheap!  All that food was $25 per person including tax and tip.  #BYOBswinning

If you like, try…Anywhere in Pilsen, Adobo Grill, Salpicon

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mattw
    Nov 13 2011

    I had a similar experience. My friend came just under 10 minutes after me and the server stared me down when I said I was waiting. One would have thought that I was stealing the cutlery.

    Reply
  2. Nov 15 2011

    Matt – I’m glad I was not the only one who got the stank eye for being tardy to the party.

    Reply

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