What to Eat at Chilam Balam, Opening Tomorrow

Chilam Balam chef Chuy Valencia
Chilam Balam chef Chuy Valencia Photo: via Chilam Balam

Farm-to-table usually shows up in New American form, but tomorrow marks the opening of chef Chuy Valencia’s Chilam Balam (3023 N. Broadway, 773 296 6901). Named for a Mayan holy book, Chilam Balam is a Mexican BYO that takes its cues from seasonality and the greenmarket. A vet of the Bayless empire, Valencia (who, at 23, officially qualifies as a wunderkind) really knows his stuff. The tasting-plates menu is designed for sharing, with anchor dishes — grilled hangar steak, masa memelas, guacamole — supplemented by an ever-changing menu of specials inspired by whatever’s freshly available. For August, the restaurant is opening with squash blossom quesadillas, ceviche preparations of kampachi and hamachi, and leg of lamb roasted in a mole-inspired rub. Read on for the full opening menu.

Small Plates
Corn masa memelas topped with smokey black bean puree, goat cheese, arbol chile salsa and dressed watercress 8.95

Crispy corn tlayuda filled with rustic mole negro, shredded free range chicken, string cheese and greens 8.95

Young greens tossed in roasted poblano dressing, avocado, toasted sweet pumpkinseeds, grilled jicama, orange and red onion 7.95

Grilled pork ribs basted with Oaxacan pasilla glaze, shaved radishes, and sweet plantains with crema 9.95

Grilled hanger steak in guajillo sauce, roasted potatoes, crispy onion and cilantro 11.95

Empanadas filled with braised mushrooms in pipian verde, string cheese, epazote and roasted green chiles 7.95

Halibut ceviche tossed with red onion, cucumber, jicama, cilantro, habanero, avocado and tomato; tostadas 9.95

Guacamole with traditional garnishes and homemade tostadas; mild or spicy 7.95

Soup of the day with seasonal garnishes mp

August Specials
Small Plates
Steamed mussels, clams, halibut in mole amarillo with masa dumplings and verdolagas 11.95

Slices of mixed heirloom tomatoes, chunks of homemade cheese, chilaca chile-avocado dressing and baby arugula 7.95

Handmade quesadilla filled with melting cheese, squash blossoms, green chile, and grilled summer squash 8.95

Sliced Kampachi in chileagua, pickled red onions, charred purple carrots and fresh herbs; tostadas 10.95

Larger Plates
Grill seared lion’s paw scallops, fresh corn chileatole, grilled fennel salad, baby cherry tomatoes and roasted mushrooms 17.95

Roasted leg of lamb in a rustic sauce of chihuacle chiles, bitter chocolate and sesame seeds; sunchoke-potato puree 20.95

Grilled, herb marinated whole game hen with charred tomato molcajete salsa, blackened knob onions and pot beans 16.95

What to Eat at Chilam Balam, Opening Tomorrow