LTH Home

Real Tenochtitlan?

Real Tenochtitlan?
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • Real Tenochtitlan?

    Post #1 - July 31st, 2008, 8:46 am
    Post #1 - July 31st, 2008, 8:46 am Post #1 - July 31st, 2008, 8:46 am
    Anyone been to Real Tenochtitlan? It's at 2451 N. Milwaukee Ave. and I just took a look at their website. Looks like they specialize in moles and use locally grown and sustainable products throughout their menu.

    http://www.realtenochtitlan.com

    According to their online menu, they have a Chef's five-course tasing menu for $45...

    Real Tenochtitlan
    2451 N. Milwaukee Avenue
    Chicago, IL
    773-227-1050
  • Post #2 - July 31st, 2008, 9:47 am
    Post #2 - July 31st, 2008, 9:47 am Post #2 - July 31st, 2008, 9:47 am
    For those who don't know-it's a Geno Bahena thing...
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #3 - July 31st, 2008, 10:44 am
    Post #3 - July 31st, 2008, 10:44 am Post #3 - July 31st, 2008, 10:44 am
    Contrary to TimeOut the last time I called they still were not open.
  • Post #4 - July 31st, 2008, 3:27 pm
    Post #4 - July 31st, 2008, 3:27 pm Post #4 - July 31st, 2008, 3:27 pm
    I called earlier today to check their hours and they said they'd be open for dinner tomorrow (Friday) evening at 5pm
  • Post #5 - August 1st, 2008, 12:18 am
    Post #5 - August 1st, 2008, 12:18 am Post #5 - August 1st, 2008, 12:18 am
    Does anyone have any insight on how he's never been able to keep a place open? His reputation is always strong when he opens a place, he receives great press, and people flock (people were even traveling to that place he had on the Indiana border).

    I know he's good at what he does, I remember a few very, very, good meals at Chilpancingo years back, just have always been curious about the man.
  • Post #6 - August 1st, 2008, 4:45 am
    Post #6 - August 1st, 2008, 4:45 am Post #6 - August 1st, 2008, 4:45 am
    pizano345 wrote:Does anyone have any insight on how he's never been able to keep a place open? His reputation is always strong when he opens a place, he receives great press, and people flock (people were even traveling to that place he had on the Indiana border).


    I'm not sure there's any one reason. The place on the Indiana border, which I did journey to, was 1) obviously out of the way and 2) gigantic and perhaps overly ambitious (it was two restaurants in one -- a fancier one and a less-fancy one -- and this decision was probably dictated more by the hugeness of the space and room arrangement than any solid business plan that took into account the community's ability to support such a venture).

    Visiting Tepatulco on two occasions, and seeing the great man lounging at a back table, I definitely got the impression he was letting his reputation do the cooking.

    Still, Bahena is a force to be reckoned with, and I intend to visit his new place (but not right away...even though he's an old hand, his start-ups still seem to require a rev up period where they work out the kinks, which is understandable and normal).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #7 - August 1st, 2008, 6:36 am
    Post #7 - August 1st, 2008, 6:36 am Post #7 - August 1st, 2008, 6:36 am
    If anything, Bahena has had more than his fair share of influence on the market for high end Mexican here. I did note that his LA operation, which he left here to open after Chilpancingo closed, is now closed too.

    It seemed to me that some of his past restaurants, notably Ixcalpulzalco, suffered from a lack of consistency indicating that, while he has a great concept, he may have trouble with the execution of that concept in his kitchens on an ongoing basis.
  • Post #8 - September 1st, 2008, 12:27 am
    Post #8 - September 1st, 2008, 12:27 am Post #8 - September 1st, 2008, 12:27 am
    I'd been hearing rumors about this place for a while, and tonight we were invited to go check it out with the Mrs. and a couple of friends. It's a little south of the old Izcapuzalco on Milwaukee. A bright, colorful, large tiled space, twenty some four-tops, some booths and an upstairs banquet room. A lot of space. BYOB still, so we brought some bubbly. They've been up and running since August 2. Some appetizers, guacamole made tableside, taquitos de pollo, corn soup, a seafood-rice combo in squid ink that rocked. We had the mole of the day (Geno still features moles, it's in his blood) which was an incredibly rich black mole, me and one companion with chicken, the Mrs. and our other compadre the lamb chops. Superb all around. Desserts were a coconut pie with strawberry ice cream, a chocolate tamale (really rich, warm and verging on a mortal sin) and an above-average key lime pie.

    I was very impressed, more Izcapuzalco than Chilpancingo. It's a beautiful space, and when word gets out maybe business will pick up-it was very slow, though a Sunday night before a Monday holiday isn't exactly representative. Channel 7 has been in, evidently some reviews are in the works. We talked a little to Geno on the way out, I hope he can make a go of this one, it's a good addition to the burgeoning high end Mexican scene that he's been a part of for a while now. I'm surprised no one has reported on this yet.

    Real Tenochtitlan
    2451 N.Milwaukee Avenue
    773-227-1050
    trpt2345
  • Post #9 - September 1st, 2008, 12:34 am
    Post #9 - September 1st, 2008, 12:34 am Post #9 - September 1st, 2008, 12:34 am
    Thanks for the report, the old Izcapuzalco was a family favorite (those lamb chop, those moles!), so I'm looking forward to trying out Geno's latest venture!
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #10 - September 1st, 2008, 8:50 am
    Post #10 - September 1st, 2008, 8:50 am Post #10 - September 1st, 2008, 8:50 am
    We went on Friday, it was pretty empty. Our server was lovely, we never felt ignored or over-attended to. The table-side guac was very nice, and the guy who did it had just the right combo of waiter/entertainer. The host was also quite pleasant.

    I had the black mole, DH had the special of the day (red mole). I liked his better, he liked mine better :) The one thing I didn't like was that they both come with the same sides - 2 small pieces of baby squash and mashed potatoes. The house-made soft corn tortillas that come alongside were great.

    It looked like they had a private upstairs room for small parties.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #11 - September 2nd, 2008, 12:10 pm
    Post #11 - September 2nd, 2008, 12:10 pm Post #11 - September 2nd, 2008, 12:10 pm
    We ate there last week, and it seemed to me that this could be the most promising of Geno Bahena's recent restaurant ventures.

    We had the now ubiquitous lamb with black mole (which Bahena reiterated to me would be very rare in Mexico -- he considers it a kind of Chi-Mex creation, which is interesting in and of itself). If you bring your own tequila, they'll mix drinks tableside (not sure the charge). Dry pack scallops in green "butter" sauce were also very good.

    I like the space here and the art -- not the murals so much, but the masks and sculpture...I'm especially enamoured of the well-dressed skeleton in the window.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #12 - September 6th, 2008, 9:20 am
    Post #12 - September 6th, 2008, 9:20 am Post #12 - September 6th, 2008, 9:20 am
    Happy to report a good/great meal at Real Tenochtitlan the other night.

    Arrived relatively early - about 7:00pm, just in time to break fast. Server was attentive and knew the menu well. Apparently the menu changes - this month's menu contained specials for Mexican Ind. day.

    We had the Sopes trio, which turned out to be 4 sopes - pretty generous for variety and quantity. The homemade masa cups were excellent and most of the fillings were spot on - didn't try the Chorizo but my friend reported that it was delicious. Another contained mole and chicken, another plaintain and homemade sour cream, and one with guacamole.

    Chips and salsa were a complete miss. The chips came in long strips in three varieties - regular, spinach and chile - which was fine. However, the salsas were no good. The verde was midly chunky but barely stuck to chips. The chipotle was smokey, but I couldn't get enough of it on a chip to make it worthwhile. Very dissapointing.

    We had another appetizer - a soupt of chicken with avocado in a red chile broth. Light, mildly spiced, altogether pleasant if not remarkable. The broth could have been more aggressively spiced.

    Oh and another appetizer - "black" rice with seafood. This was excellent. I believe the rice was black from squid ink, and it contained generous amounts of mixed seafood and was topped with excellent, fresh cubed avocado. A real success and something completely out of left field for me when it comes to Mexican. The portion was generous for an appetizer.

    I had the Mole of the day - Chichilo?? I believe...basically a red mole, with Duck. The duck was perfectly cooked and I couldn't stop sopping up the Mole with the excellent house-made tortillas. The mashed potatos supporting the duck were garlicky, creamy and generally excellent - with small chunks of potato providing nice contrast to the more creamy sections. Still, I thought the ratio of carbs (mashed potatos and tortillas) to sauce and meat was a little off-balance. It was a bit odd eating mashed potatos with tortillas. Maybe some veggies? Something fresh? I don't know how Mole is traditionally eaten, but something seemed out of place. Nontheless, I enjoyed the dish and the mole itself was exemplary.

    I spotted some folks at the table next to us order Ceviche. The portion was huge and it looked great. Next time.....

    Dessert was a flourless chocolate/fudge cake with homemade vanilla ice cream and raspberry compote. Amazing. The cake was perfectly light and rich at the same time and the ice cream was out of this world (I loves vanilla). Totally knocked it out of the ballpark with this one.

    We also had jamaica (hibiscus) and horchata (rice milk w/ cinnamon) to drink. The tab was about 85 with tip. I don't go out to upscale places often but felt that the price was reasonable for the attentive service and generally top-notch and unique Mexican food.

    The place is BYOB for now - take advantage.

    Ciao!
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #13 - September 12th, 2008, 9:13 pm
    Post #13 - September 12th, 2008, 9:13 pm Post #13 - September 12th, 2008, 9:13 pm
    Geno Bahena and Real Tenochtitlan on Steve Dolinsky's Hungry Hound tonight ~ Urban Belly must be on next week. Nice demo on moles!
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #14 - October 27th, 2008, 11:35 am
    Post #14 - October 27th, 2008, 11:35 am Post #14 - October 27th, 2008, 11:35 am
    Mexican restaurant, 2451 Milwaukee, Chgo.
    Geno bahena is chef, owner.
    Suggested in Trib on 10-9-08.
    Any reviews????????/
    Any thoughts??????????
    Wally Wade
  • Post #15 - October 27th, 2008, 11:37 am
  • Post #16 - October 27th, 2008, 1:09 pm
    Post #16 - October 27th, 2008, 1:09 pm Post #16 - October 27th, 2008, 1:09 pm
    I was there on Saturday night and thought it was terrific. Having loved Chilpancingo and been sorely disappointed by Tepatulco, it's great to see Bahena open another place worth visiting. It probably helps that he's actually involved with this place rather than just lending his name to it. (Our waitress confirmed he was in the kitchen the night we were there.) There's a lot more attention paid to the interior than there was at Tepatulco, which helps you feel like the place is there to provide you an experience rather than existing solely to take your money, as Tepatulco came across to me. Plus, it's BYO which is always appreciated.

    Standouts included a perfectly citrusy ceviche, which is one of the better versions I've had in the city. Also, while there wasn't much entree sharing amongst the group (a testament to everyone we were with loving the place), my entree of sliced ostrich with a deep flavorful mole, garlic chard, and a corn tamale that tasted like some of the best cornbread I've ever had, was fantastic.

    I'll definitely be back.
  • Post #17 - October 27th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    Post #17 - October 27th, 2008, 1:51 pm Post #17 - October 27th, 2008, 1:51 pm
    I was there a few weeks ago and loved it as well. I'll quietly admit that I often found Ixcapuzalco over-rated, and while I loved having a 'special-occasion' restaurant on the somewhat dismal strip of Milwaukee close to home, I always left the place feeling like something was missing.

    Not so with Real Tenochtitlan. I had the pumpkin soup (gorgeous and rich, with amazing depth of flavor, due largely a drizzle of Bahena's mole) and a Gunthorp Farms capon in mole. Even my vegetarian husband was thrilled with his dish, which seemed the benefit of true culinary attention rather than an after-thought (as vegetarian dishes can often be at places like this, which I/we readily acknowledge have no obligation to accommodate a meat/fish-free diet).

    The space is bright and cheerful, and the same can be said for the service. We definitely recommend the byo tequila option. The house margarita mix, with its tart flavor profile from fresh-squeezed limes, is a treat.

    Even better: our final tab was just under $65. Tough to find a better deal in the city!
  • Post #18 - October 27th, 2008, 2:07 pm
    Post #18 - October 27th, 2008, 2:07 pm Post #18 - October 27th, 2008, 2:07 pm
    I ate dinner there with a couple of co-workers on Friday night. Many of you may remember that I was a big fan of his last big venture here, Chilpancingo where the food was always great, but the restaurant was always empty.

    The three of us ordered three different entrees. I had the sea bass prepared tikin xic style. it was different than what one would get traditionally in the Yucatan as the fish was a filet versus whole and the style of cooking was roasted in banana leaves as opposed to grilled over a wood fire in banana leaves. It certainly was a bit of a letdown considering that I had eaten tikin xic to my heart's content in Isla Mujeres just a couple of weeks ago. But, it wasn't a bad dish in the way that it was prepared here. The fish was very moist and its white neutral flesh allowed the flavor of the annato and lime to permeate it well.

    The squid ink rice mentioned above as an appetizer is now an entree. I was afforded a bite of it and found it to be the best entree of the night at our table. Sometimes, you get one of those rare dishes that, from a flavor perspective, is the epitome of the tastes of the ocean. This one definiately reaches that plateau.

    The third member of our party had the lamb over the mole of the day which he pronounced excellent.

    I was the only person who opted for dessert, a housemade buttermilk ice cream served with a dab of dark silky fudge sauce and some fresh blackberries. It was a great dish.

    The interior of the restaurant is quite nice. probably the nicest of the Bahena restaurants that I have dined in. The place was packed by 7 pm with no empty tables.

    i certainly plan to be back based on my experience.
    Last edited by YourPalWill on October 29th, 2008, 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #19 - October 29th, 2008, 7:30 pm
    Post #19 - October 29th, 2008, 7:30 pm Post #19 - October 29th, 2008, 7:30 pm
    I ate there last night.
    Spent $ 62.00 on CRAP.
    Thoroughly disappointed.
  • Post #20 - October 29th, 2008, 7:34 pm
    Post #20 - October 29th, 2008, 7:34 pm Post #20 - October 29th, 2008, 7:34 pm
    Tell us why you think it was crap, Walter. Was $62 for one person? Two? Three?

    Bahena certainly has his fair share of detractors. But, please give us some detail on your experience.
  • Post #21 - October 29th, 2008, 9:09 pm
    Post #21 - October 29th, 2008, 9:09 pm Post #21 - October 29th, 2008, 9:09 pm
    I ate there last night.
    Spent $ 62.00 on CRAP.
    Thoroughly disappointed.


    *rates post as not helpful*

    Please advise as to what you ate and why you didn't like it. Have you dined at one of Bahena's restos before? What made you go?
  • Post #22 - February 11th, 2009, 1:34 pm
    Post #22 - February 11th, 2009, 1:34 pm Post #22 - February 11th, 2009, 1:34 pm
    I ate there last night and had a wonderful experience. It's a large dining room, though it was pretty empty on a Tuesday night.

    As appetizers my group ordered the ceviche and the stuffed poblanos. The ceviche was served as five large tortilla chips topped with ceviche and a tangy dipping sauce in the middle of the plate. This was the best ceviche I've had in Chicago. The fish was incredibly fresh, not over-limed, and the fish pieces were large for ceviche but very tender. The poblano pepper was served with pico de gallo and stuffed with an interesting cheese that tasted close to cream cheese but had a firmer texture and a milder flavor. Both were big hits with the whole group.

    Two people ordered the Amarillo mole (the Tuesday special mole) with duck, one ordered the carne asada, and one ordered the Aztec soup and the squid (she was in an appetizer mood). I'm by no means a mole expert, but I really enjoyed it particularly with the extremely fresh corn tortillas they serve in the middle of the table. I tried a little of the carne asada as well and I was impressed by the lean cut and excellent spices.

    For dessert we shared the flan and the coconut pie topped with strawberry ice cream. The coconut pie reminded us of a pecan pie and the ice cream on top was definitely made in house. The flan was also very good especially since the syrup wasn't too sweet.

    Overall we had an excellent meal and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for upscale mexican food (it's BYOB!). I'll definitely be going to this place over Frontera Grill (which can be hit-or-miss, a little more expensive, and LONG waits) in the future.
  • Post #23 - March 8th, 2009, 9:23 pm
    Post #23 - March 8th, 2009, 9:23 pm Post #23 - March 8th, 2009, 9:23 pm
    My expectations were exceeded tonight at Real Tenochtitlan.

    First, I found the dining room strikingly beautiful: a grand space with high ceilings made of the building's original tile work, a gallery of vivid paintings by Oscar Romero, a favorite local artist of mine, and rustic wooden accents in a room with a very urban feel.

    For the most part, the food kept pace with the beauty of the room. I loved the very nutty, complex white mole served with what the menu called Gunthorp Farm capon breast. The sauce was fantastic and stole the show, but although I have had capon that I've adored, this seemed more like your standard dry, boneless and skinless chicken breast. As good as that sauce was, it was bettered by a spicy guajillo-based sauce served with a shrimp dish. That marvelous concoction balanced plenty of fruit with some spice kick, garlic, and a hold-no-punches, intense shrimp stock. A sea bass entree was cooked in banana leaves after marinating in achiote and sour orange. It was delicious, but I didn't care for the very sour mashed potatoes on the side: mashed with too much Mexican crema for my taste, I suppose. Homemade tortillas served with everything were on the thick and lardy side, not bad things in my book.

    As good as much of our food was, dessert might have been the best part of the meal. I just loved the orange-almond cake, which seemed to be made from a combination of corn and regular flour. It was moist, not too sweet, and the flavors of the orange and the almond were in perfect balance. I could have done without the homemade buttermilk-vanilla ice cream on the side, which was just north of OK.

    Real Tenochtitlan is a big winner in my book.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #24 - March 8th, 2009, 9:47 pm
    Post #24 - March 8th, 2009, 9:47 pm Post #24 - March 8th, 2009, 9:47 pm
    Mrs. JiLS made our first visit to Real Tonochtitlan Saturday evening, and it was overall a very favorable affair, a sort of homecoming. I'd say that finally, by returning to Milwaukee Avenue, Geno Bahena might have found again his place. As KennyZ notes above, the physical space is beautiful; a room that feels bigger on the inside than the building appears on the outside, slowly filling from near-scary empty at 6:30 to buzzingly full at 9:00 or so when we left. We had the tasting menu, which was full of many Bahena good old good ones (the sopes, the ceviche tostada, lamb chops in mole) and one or two surprises (trout in green mole was outstanding and not a dish I recall having had at Ixcapuzalco or Chilpancingo). As always, they served two completely different tasting menus, for a total of ten different dishes; the inference is that you should share, which we did. The only complete miss of the evening was an inexplicable salad consisting of mixed greens that seemed like they came out of a bag from Jewel, tossed with bits of fried tortilla and lightly dressed; this one they should drop. Tableside guacamole service I don't recall from GB's prior outings, but I might just have forgotten; but $9.00 was well spent here. Dessert included a surprisingly good cheesecake, just approaching the dryness level that satisfies my Teutonic preferences. If you miss Chilpancingo (or have nostalgia about Ixcapuzalco), then by all means, get to Real Tenochtitlan.
    JiLS
  • Post #25 - March 9th, 2009, 9:25 am
    Post #25 - March 9th, 2009, 9:25 am Post #25 - March 9th, 2009, 9:25 am
    For those who have been recently, was it crowded?

    The last couple times I've been there it has been relatively empty, which is a bit concerning. Then again, it's quite a large space.
  • Post #26 - March 9th, 2009, 10:26 am
    Post #26 - March 9th, 2009, 10:26 am Post #26 - March 9th, 2009, 10:26 am
    Ralph Wiggum wrote:For those who have been recently, was it crowded?

    The last couple times I've been there it has been relatively empty, which is a bit concerning. Then again, it's quite a large space.


    Jim noted above that on Saturday it was fairly empty early in the evening, but quite full as it got later. Last night, I thought it was a good-sized crowd for a Sunday. Three 4-tops including ours, and maybe another 3-4 larger tables of multigenerational Mexican families.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #27 - April 24th, 2009, 9:34 am
    Post #27 - April 24th, 2009, 9:34 am Post #27 - April 24th, 2009, 9:34 am
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Real Tenochitlan sounds good. i will check that out. The other places I'm considering are Chicago Brauhaus, El Mariachi (although I'm worried about parking), and Irish Bistro.
  • Post #28 - April 24th, 2009, 11:41 am
    Post #28 - April 24th, 2009, 11:41 am Post #28 - April 24th, 2009, 11:41 am
    I'm not sure Real Tenochititlan is long for this world. I've driven by several times when it's been near empty. Last night, driving down Milwaukee, I noticed that Mado was full and RT was empty. I didn't spot a single customer in RT.

    Recovering from a Smoque BBQ overdose,
    Ronna
  • Post #29 - April 24th, 2009, 11:49 am
    Post #29 - April 24th, 2009, 11:49 am Post #29 - April 24th, 2009, 11:49 am
    REB wrote:I'm not sure Real Tenochititlan is long for this world. I've driven by several times when it's been near empty. Last night, driving down Milwaukee, I noticed that Mado was full and RT was empty. I didn't spot a single customer in RT.

    Recovering from a Smoque BBQ overdose,
    Ronna



    RT is much bigger than Mado, and when I was there, there seemed to be many regular customers who preferred to sit toward the back, near the kitchen and staff. I don't think you could get anything close to an accurate picture of how many people are in there by driving by. That said, it would be a shame if your speculation turned out to be right, so I hope LTHers (and everyone else) head to RT for dinner soon.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #30 - April 24th, 2009, 12:02 pm
    Post #30 - April 24th, 2009, 12:02 pm Post #30 - April 24th, 2009, 12:02 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    REB wrote:I'm not sure Real Tenochititlan is long for this world. I've driven by several times when it's been near empty. Last night, driving down Milwaukee, I noticed that Mado was full and RT was empty. I didn't spot a single customer in RT.

    Recovering from a Smoque BBQ overdose,
    Ronna



    RT is much bigger than Mado, and when I was there, there seemed to be many regular customers who preferred to sit toward the back, near the kitchen and staff. I don't think you could get anything close to an accurate picture of how many people are in there by driving by. That said, it would be a shame if your speculation turned out to be right, so I hope LTHers (and everyone else) head to RT for dinner soon.
    Wasn't comparing Mado and RT - - obviously apples and oranges. I've just found it interesting, given the current economic troubles, to see how restaurants are faring. Certainly, there may have been some customers in RT - - but it wasn't bustling. And, it's often not bustling.

    Ronna

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more