Beetle Bailey (3/2/10)

Ah, the power of positive reviews. Late last year, I was drawn to XOCO, a recently opened soup and sandwich place in downtown Chicago. The ostensibly Mexican restaurant was designed to complement its neighbors, the impossible-to-get-into Frontera Grill and the impossible-to-afford Topolobampo. All three are owned and operated by Rick Bayless, whose star rose after he took home top prize on the reality show Top Chef Masters. The first time I went to XOCO, I was high on the hype of Bayless opening his first restaurant in 20 years and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. The second time I went there, I realized my soup consisted of bland cabbage drowned in overpowering pepper. I’ll probably try his other restaurants at some point, but for now I’ll just stick to my favorite neighborhood spots for Mexican food: Nuevo Leon, Los Nopales, and Sol de Mexico.


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