Mixteco Grill, which opened in Ravenswood in May, is owned by Raul Arreola, who has cooked in some of Chicago's most renowned Latin kitchens -- Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Chilpancingo among them. Arreola's past places of employment have flavored his cooking, especially his moles, which shine at his own spot. And, it's BYOB -- bonus!
Mixteco Grill is a charming neighborhood spot filled with local families, couples and groups of friends who pack the 40-seat restaurant nightly. The menu is simple, made up of Mexican classics (chiles rellenos, carne asada, various types of enchiladas) and creative twists (grilled black tiger shrimp with poblano cream sauce, wood-grilled baby chicken with a red wine-guajillo-tomato sauce). And then there are the magnificent moles -- a catch of the day draped in a green mole, a grilled pork chop enrobed in a black mole and more. People (dining critics included) rhapsodize about these top-notch toppings.
Diagonally across Montrose Avenue from Mixteco Grill is Rayan's Discount Liquors. Duck in there before dinner to pick up a pack of one of the several Mexican beers on hand, a bottle of wine or pre-mixed margaritas (Jose Cuervo makes good ones -- no, really!).