Updated December 6th, 2021
Xilonen is located in a huge corner space on the Greenpoint side of McCarren Park, and, like its sister restaurant in the same neighborhood (Oxomoco), this place serves Mexican food best enjoyed with a drink outside. There are, however, two main difference between the two spots—the first being that the menu here is entirely vegan and vegetarian.
The second (related) difference is that, a few hours after eating here, stunning vegetables will appear in places you don’t expect. You’ll think, “Is that a traffic light turning yellow, or is it a tender root vegetable with an impeccable char?” Or possibly, “That rubber cone has an incandescent orange hue and looks delicious. Should I eat it?” This vegetarian food at Xilonen is thrilling to eat, partly because it’s prettier than the majority of things other places serve and partly because of Xilonen’s commitment to letting vegetables be the stars of every bite.
Xilonen has a dia menu (served from 10am to 4pm) and a noche menu (available 5pm to 10pm), but most items are on both, with few exceptions. One key exception? The masa pancakes with maple syrup and salted butter. After an encounter with this dish at brunch, we nearly gave up on classic flapjacks altogether. These light and fluffy hot cakes taste like plump corn tortillas, but with a slightly sweet taste from the masa.
Xilonen isn’t the best place to bring a large group, since the portions are on the smaller side and, if you’re sharing between five or six people, everybody will probably only get one bite of each dish. But if you’re looking for somewhere where the vegetables star in a leading role, Xilonen is the spot.
The theme of this tostada (which you should order) is the color green. It has a stack of microgreens on top, as well as a thick layer of chunky avocado. The only downside of this dish is the fact that it’s hard to split—so order one for each person at your table.
The fajitas quesadilla is one of the best ways to experience Xilonen’s exceptional masa. Factor in the sautéed vegetables and melty cheese, and this an unmissable option on the menu.
One of the more filling things to order. The potato-leek combo is super hearty, and sometimes they switch this up and offer it in flauta form.
A dish that almost makes us want to disown all other kind of pancakes. These light and fluffy hot cakes pack a lot of corn flavor, which makes them slightly sweet and slightly savory.
The only dish we don’t actively recommend at Xilonen? These churros. They can be stiff and lukewarm, without the doughy center that we value in quality churros.