Chilam Balam

12 Oct

While we’re on the topic of cute neighborhood spots, check out Chilam Balam on Broadway just south of Belmont.  Chilam Balam is in the basement space of a three flat building.  If you’re not looking for it, you may miss it.  The name means “Book of the Jaguar Priest” and is meant to signify that natural resources are scarce.  The food is reminiscent of Frontera Grill (one of the owners is a former sous chef) – the ambition is to do Alice Waters’s style farm-to-table Mexican food.  In all, it is executed really well.

As you might expect from a Frontera-trained chef, Chilam Balam does sopes (corn masa boats filled with vegetables and various spicy, crunchy, or otherwise flavorful and textural ingredients), memelas (same), and empanadas (fried, stuffed turnovers, of sorts) particularly well.  These – all vegetarian – each have wild mushrooms, corn, goat cheese, arugula, carrots, cauliflower, and/or chiles, among other things.The pulled chicken flautas – tiny rolled, crispy corn tortillas with chicken, cabbage, carrots, and crema – were smokey and spicy and very satisfying.The desserts are good, too (again, very Frontera).  This hibiscus flan was a flowery, tangy delight.The chocolate chile mousse was spicy and more dense than I expected (one to two bites was plenty), but also good (I avoided the crazy banana marshmallow spread around the plate). Overall successful effort.  And different enough from the gold standard (Frontera), that you won’t compare too much (unless you are a Frontera loyalist, like me).

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One Response to “Chilam Balam”

  1. Kim October 13, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Yum!

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