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Monday, February 12, 2007

First look: Xni-Pec

Posted By on 02.12.07 at 08:01 AM

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Seems like everyone loves Xni-Pec ("shnee pek"), the area's only Yucatecan restaurant, named for the piercing regional salsa made with habaneros, raw radish, red onion, and sour orange juice. Translated, it means "nose of the dog," which has nothing to do with the taste, but rather the way it makes your schnozz run.

Resident Mexi-phile David Hammond will have a lot to say in an upcoming review, but meanwhile let me jump on the bandwagon. This family-owned and operated place is fun and excellent, run by passionate, friendly boosters of their home cuisine, typified by Mayan, Spanish, and Carribbean influences, heavy on the the habaneros, sweet pickled red onions, and citrus flavors, but by no means overpowered by them. 

There are so many special things to try here from the fabled cochinita pibil tacos (pork slow roasted in vinegar, achiote seed, allspice, and oregano, on handmade tortillas) to the poc-chuc (thinly sliced bitter orange marinaded grilled beef, chicken, or pork), to the subtly sweet Mayan honey liqueur called xtabentun.

Git going. 5135 W. 25th, Cicero, 708-652-8680

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