Yay Chichen Itza in MacArthur Park!!!

Chichen Itza Yucatan Restaurant

2501 W. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 380-0051

May 29th, 2007 UPDATE
I went there with co-workers last week on Friday for lunch and lo and behold - LUNCH SPECIALS! For $8.95 you can get reasonably priced cochinita pibil tres tacos with sides and a drink, and a number of other items. I was very pleased to see the change in pricing for the lunch crowd. I hope it helps their cashflow so they can stick around and remain a work lunch option for me (yes. it's all about ME).

Oh! I almost forgot. I had the jicama citrus salad again during that lunch and it was pretty bad. The size of the cuts of jicama and quartered orange slices were rough and larger than I remember. The worst part was that the quartered oranges weren't even done correctly! I had to chew hard on the skin of the orange pieces, even the really tough parts that connect towards the north and south poles of the orange. ick.

Previous Post (January 13th, 2007)
i'm trying hard not to gush here but i can't resist. I AM SO EXCITED TO HAVE CHICHEN ITZA'S RESTAURANT OPEN THREE BLOCKS AWAY FROM MY OFFICE. there. i had to say it. (let's be honest, the only food around my immediate vicinity is a carl's jr.)

i've always enjoyed their catering at meetings i've attended throughout los angeles. for one, i would bathe in their sweet habanero sauce if not for the completely impractical nature of such a task. i was impressed by the fact that their mass produced chicken stayed so perfectly moist and flavorful.

but now, with the restaurant open by macarthur park, i'm practically in heaven. i went for lunch yesterday. i loved the blend of the clean, fresh, sweet and spicy flavors featured in their yucatan palate.

overall: the ambiance is clean and more upscale with chichen itza etched into the tortilla holders and earthy colors of the matte paint wrapping the dining area. the acoustics can get a little "dinny" if people start talking too loud but overall it's very comfortable and spacious.

the food and value: lunch prices are slightly lower than dinner prices. the table setting started with a small glass of water (preserved without a need for a wait or a request), a bowl of thinly sliced crusty baguette like bread used for dipping into the sweet, black bean dip on the side. in addition, there was your usual bowl of tortilla chips - freshly fried with a great! salsa that has a smokiness from using roasted tomatoes (is my guess). good stuff.

my dining buddy and i started with the ceviche de camaron. the shrimp was perfectly tender but meaty...and good but not nearly as acidic or as spicy as we wanted (especially because we were specifically asked if we wanted it spicy and had said, 'yes.')

i had a bite of my buddy's Tikin-Xic, a sauteed sole filet swimming in a gorgeous pool of technicolor red-orange colored sour orange sauce with a bed of rice. plenty of depth in the sauce with a moist and beautifully presented filet. but the fish was almost going to be upstaged by the delicious side (practically a full plate) of Citrus Jicama salad, a fresh combo of sweet, spicy (from red chili flakes) and crunchy. this was a winner.

I had the Cochinita Pibil (pictured above courtesy of the restaurant's own website photos) a hefty chunk of pork "marinated with achiote, sour orange juice and spices, cooked in banana leaves, topped with pickled red onions served with sauted black beans, confetti rice and steamy corn tortillas." i was a little confused by the whole habanero pepper sitting on top of the meat though it looked colorful and attractive. the pork was not as moist as i was hoping but i wouldn't call it dry. upon suggestion by the chef gilberto himself (who was super friendly and checking on us and our food) i shredded the pork and made little corn soft tacos. turns out i was suppose to cut up pieces of the pepper for my little tacos! AH! that's what i was supposed to do! after that, i was in business and it all made sense. the corn tortillas felt handmade and was certainly fresh. overall the pork was definitely delicious and not at all greasy. but if i had a choice between the two dishes, i would pick the fish for its flavors and simple refinement. the pork would be if i wanted to feel that pork full goodness.

overall the value was definitely worth it for the food and ambiance, especially at the lunch prices. my strategy for good value grub will be to come eat here for lunch until i try the whole menu and then i'll know which dishes are worth eating AFTER work.


Blogger erinskitchen said...

Yum--can't wait to try this place--it's very close to my office too. Found your site thru Soul Fusion Kitchen...nice work!

1/14/2007 7:30 PM  
Blogger Gena said...

is the menu at this new location the same as at their old location in the mercado de paloma?

nice review. i, too, love the jicama salad and am a big fan of pork cochinita pibil... in fact, i think i posted a review in the grubclub early days. if only we had that archive categorization! argh.

1/17/2007 11:21 AM  
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