The BF and I joined our friends for a date night at Ixcateco Grill during the middle of the week and noticed the dining room filled up very quickly. It's not a huge restaurant, so I'd recommend making a reservation via phone in advance (especially now that the word's getting out about how good it is). It's also not super fancy, but it has character thanks to the neon walls and vibrant artwork. Ixcateco Grill is BYOB so make sure you grab some booze on your way over.
Chef Anselmo Ramirez, formerly of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, features cuisine from Mexico's central and southwestern regions. The menu is limited, but well-executed, so you won't need to worry about order regret.
We started our meal with a selection of shared appetizers including the ensalada de pulpo, or octopus salad with cherry tomatoes, jicama, pea shoots, green beans, and Oaxacan pasilla dressing. The texture of the octopus was superb. It was super tender and soaked up every ounce of the dressing it was bathed in. Seeing grilled octopus on a menu these days is like seeing a poke bowl, everyone's doing it, but Ixcateco's version is a must order.
|Ensalada de Pulpo|
|Pollo en Mole Negro|
Ixcateco Grill has so many positives going for it. It's affordable (everything is under $20), BYOB, inventive without being too pretentious, flavorful, and a friendly and casual space. It's definitely worth the trek north (it's not a far walk from the brown line), and you're bound to leave feeling like you just found your new favorite hidden gem.
I'm giving Ixcateco Grill 4.5 ghosts out of 5!
3402 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618