Mexique is located on west Chicago Ave. in an area that is filled with a large assortment of restaurants with varying types of cuisine in close proximity to one another. Mexique’s cuisine is a fusion of Mexican and French styles. Its dining room is functional and pleasantly decorated in a modern motif.
Recently, our party of four lunched there all for the first time. We had reservations for 12 noon and when we arrived, we were the only customers. After being seated in our choice of tables, our waiter Pedro apologetically informed us that the lunch menus for the day had not been printed and while providing us with brunch menus. I responded that we came for lunch and were not interested in brunch. Pedro consulted with owner and head chef Carlos who was on-site and who then quickly came to our table. He was very personable and explained that a mix-up had occurred with regard to the delivery of raw food ingredients that, in turn, caused a delay in printing the lunch menu. He said that he would personally ensure that he would rectify the problem and the lunch menus would soon be printed. I asked that if in the meantime he could tell us what appetizers would be available. Carlos listed all the appetizers, and on his recommendation we ordered the Sopes De Chorizo (black beans, chorizo, and jalapeno relish on corn masa). By all accounts they were uniquely flavorful and delicious. Soon thereafter we were provided the lunch menu for that day.
A short time later Carlos came back to our table to check on our situation. We asked him for entrée explanations and recommendations, and he provided detailed information about each dish. Two of us ordered the Huarache (flank steak, goat cheese, and black beans on corn masa) and the other two ordered tacos with a variety of fillings, including tilapia, duck confit, pork and chicken. In addition, I asked Carlos if we could taste a small portion of the Cochinita Pibil (braised pork shoulder wrapped in banana leaves) as another appetizer. Subsequently, Pedro set a full order of the Cochinita Pibil on our table that we all thought was delicious. Next came our entrées. All were very nicely presented, very fresh, and well prepared. We all enjoyed the food and ate everything with gusto. The unique blend of Mexican and French seasonings and ingredients was very flavorful.
At the end of the meal Carlos again joined us and asked about our meal. We told him that we thought that the food was delicious. He then told us about his history as a chef as well as the history of the restaurant. As only a few other customers arrived while we lunched, we asked Carlos about the lack of diners. He said that nights, especially on the weekends, were his busiest time requiring the cooking services of him and two other chefs.
We all had a great time, but the finishing touch was that when the bill arrived, the appetizers (i.e., Sopes De Chorizo and Cochinita Pibil) were not included. Thinking that a mistake had been made, we inquired with Pedro who told us that both items were compliments of Carlos. We then sought out Carlos and thanked him for his service and the complimentary appetizers
The ambiance of the restaurant suffered due to the small number of diners during lunch time and the consequential lack of energy that a crowd would bring. Also of note, only wine and beer is served. Nevertheless, based on the quality of the food and the close personal attention given to us by Carlos, I highly recommend Mexique with a rating of four and one-half and look forward to returning soon for dinner.
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