3023 North Broadway; 773-296-6901
Bursting at its tiny seams with colorful ceramic tiles, faux-fancy throw pillows, and goofy star-shaped light fixtures, Chilam Balam is almost too cute to take seriously. Don’t make that mistake. Chuy Valencia, a Frontera Grill alum, also got serious cooking genes from his parents, who always had something yummy on the stove. You don’t want to miss his grilled swordfish in pumpkinseed-thickened pipian sauce with startlingly good charred carrots or his oven-roasted Cornish hen with soupy black beans—cooked the way God intended. Yes, the guacamole is fresh and fine, but the halibut seviche delivers citrus, heat, and crunch in every bite. Despite the very hard wood chairs, teeny bathrooms, and cash-only policy, this little BYO is impossible not to love.
Tip: If your table isn’t ready, leave your cell phone number with the host and cool your heels at Monsignor Murphy’s next door.
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PRICE KEY: ¢ $10 to $19 $ $20 to $29 $$ $30 to $39 $$$ $40 to $49 $$$$ $50-plus
[Cost per person for dinner, excluding wine, tax, or tip]