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Ixcateco Grill

We love a good and cheap Mexican meal. Two bucks per taco and four bucks for chips and guac? Sign us up. There’s a reason Taco Tuesday has been an American tradition since 1776. But while taco night is great, there’s something to be said for high end Mexican food that delivers. So we're going to say a few things about Ixcateco Grill.

Ixcateco is a Mexican restaurant on the edge of Irving and Albany Park that offers the best of all worlds. It's a casual place with nothing casual about the food. We imagine the owner/chef picked up a few things working for Rick Bayless over the years - everything from the delicate ceviche to the hearty rotisserie chicken in a rich mole are great. And don't forget about dessert, because who could forget about the most important part of any meal - tres leches cake.

While the flavors at Ixcateco say elevated dining, the space, price points, and BYOB policy suggest otherwise. It looks and feels like a low-key and laid back operation that you can tell didn't involve much of an interior design budget. The walls are colorful with a few pieces of artwork, but it's enough to go along with the food that shines. Portions aren't huge, but you can order plenty of food without worrying about the bill.

If you're someone who struggles with paying for high priced Mexican food, this is a great spot to expand your horizons without committing to breaking the bank. Ixcateco might not be $2 taco night, but it's just as good in a different way.

Food Rundown

Guacamole and Chips

Homemade and fresh chips are coming either way, but make sure to get some guacamole with them.

Ceviche

Tilapia marinated in lime juice, celery, cilantro, serrano chiles, tomatoes, and tomatillos. Light, acidic, and delicious.

Picaditas

A fried masa canoe base filled with slow roasted poultry carnitas and avocado cream sauce with queso ranchero and pickled cactus. Tastes like fried masa with chicken, but we’re not complaining.

Pollo En Mole Negro

Great roasted chicken in a black mole with garlic mashed potatoes. Soak all that mole sauce up with everything else on the plate.

Langostinos al Ajo

Wood grilled prawns served in a garlic sauce with tomatoes, onions, avocado, and garlic over a bed of white rice. These prawns and the rice are soaked in butter, and a lot of it, plus a healthy amount of garlic. It’s really good but you’ll judge yourself hard knowing how much butter is on the rice.

Carne Asada

Adobo marinated wood grilled skirt steak served in a tomato molcajete sauce with black beans and guacamole. The skirt steak is cooked nicely and the sauce is good, which is a common theme here.

Tres Leches Cake

Don’t think, just order.

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