“I didn’t go to cooking school,” says Anselmo Ramírez, citing instead six years at Frontera Grill and seven at Topolobampo as his culinary education. On August 5, Ramírez plans to debut Ixcateco Grill (3402 W. Montrose Ave., 773-539-5887), a Mexican restaurant in Albany Park and his first solo venture.
The 44-seat, full-service BYO will change its menu seasonally, always featuring cuisine of southern Mexico, including Ramírez’s home state of Guerrero. He expects his moles will define the restaurant, appearing in dishes such as vegetable-stuffed green squash with Chihuahua cheese and yellow mole, and roast chicken with black mole. Other dishes include the appetizer picaditas, masa canoes filled with poultry carnitas, avocado cream sauce, pickled cactus, and queso ranchero; and an entrée of adobo-marinated, wood-grilled pork loin with pasilla-tomatillo-mezcal sauce.
In addition to his experience from Rick Bayless’s Chicago Mexican institutions, Ramírez will marshal his grandmother’s kitchen techniques, especially her way with moles. “Two days before, she would start getting all the ingredients,” he says. “[It] cooked for 20 hours over a wood fire.” Sounds like we could learn a thing or two in his kitchen.