1515 W. 18th Street, Chicago
Tel: (312) 421-1517
$75 for obscene amounts of food, incl. tip!
IMPORTANT NOTE: this isn't an official 54FF meeting, since Young couldn't make it. But it's worth posting the review...coming soon see below!
So, this is sort of a meta-review, because the memory of the first trip is now a bit foggy, and I've been back a zillion times.
Although I can't remember everyone's order from that night, I recall that we got a big order of frijoles sabinas (refried beans with grilled vegetables and cheese) and some guacamole. The frijoles were awesome (and they are every time I've ordered them since) and the guacamole was wonderfully purist: mashed avocado with a minimum of seasoning and some limes to keep it green. I also got the menudo (tripe soup) so that everyone could try a bit. I HATE the texture of tripe, but the broth that comes with menudo is unbelievably delicious; much like a darker, denser vietnamese pho, the soup has a smoky broth to which you can add hot pepper flakes, thin-sliced onions and limes to your taste.
I got enchiladas suizas with mole sauce, which seemed to be a popular choice that night. In general, the mole(a spicy, smoky chocolate sauce) is great here, and most dishes that incorporate it (e.g. enchiladas, pollo en mole) are sure bets. The burritos here are delicious and as big as your head; in fact, portion size in general is pretty daunting. I don't think I've ever made it as far as dessert. Fajitas are also popular (I'm convinced it's mostly because of the flashy, sizzly presentation), but they don't stand out to me as particularly exceptional. Instead, I'd suggest going with some of the more entrée like stuff, such as carne a la tampiquena, chiles rellenos, pollo en mole, or one of the breakfast dishes.
In general, Nuevo Leon is great food, at surprisingly cheap prices (cash only!). The decor is a sort of nostalgic kitsch made up of ceramic tiles and bright colors. The service is friendly, but slow; it doesn't help that the place is always packed with people and there's usually two or three servers covering the entire restaurant. On the other hand, you get the feeling that someone's abuelita is in the kitchen, making everything from scratch. It's probably not entirely true, but it sure tastes like it. Oh, and one final note: this place is BYOB, so prepare accordingly. There's a liquor store just down the street.minutes.
- We had a moment to think about Young, since she couldn't join us.
- Then we got some beer (the place is BYOB).
- About 2 hours later, we were feeling pretty full.