449 North Clark Street; 312-334-3688


Can there be any superlatives left—or insults, for that matter—to hurl at Rick Bayless’s brilliant but maddening torta/churro concept? I’ve praised the flawless Cubana torta to the cosmos and damned the place’s fussy vibe to hell. All told, Xoco’s tantalizing food outweighs its unpleasant environs, and I’m thankful the place is on Earth, much less five blocks from my office. If I were to get in the long line today, I would order that Cubana, a pepito (Tallgrass beef and caramelized onion on a wood-grilled Labriola roll), the churros topped with cocoa nibs, and some silken Aztec hot chocolate. I would wolf them all down in one delirious bacchanal, complain to my friends about the line, and then go back. That says it all.

TIP: It’s pronounced “SHOW-co,” as in “Let’s get this show on the @#$%ing road.”





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]