With all the recent interest in things Oaxacan this seems as good a time as any to post on another restaurant. I had been meaning to make a few more visits but probably wont get around to it any time soon. Maybe someone else can check out the menu more thoroughly.
Before I get to Restaurante Oaxaca, let me mention Topolobampo has a Oaxacan menu this month that looks really good. To me the lunch menu is actually more interesting and considerably cheaper than dinner. Ive added a link to their dinner menu as I dont think the lunch is on their website.
Restaurante Oaxaca is a very plain storefront restaurant with about 8 naugahyde booths and a few tables. A few wall hangings brighten the place up a bit but I wouldnt give it high marks for ambience. The menu has some English translations, a good thing because the cook/waitress spoke no English at all.
They routinely serve two moles: mole negro and mole coloradito. I tried the mole negro which was a chicken leg and thigh in a huge pool of very dark sauce. The chicken was nothing special but the mole was quite good. This was another complex oily brew but was unusual because it was nearly impossible for me to pick out individual flavors. Im sure there was plenty of chocolate in there but it was so well integrated with all the other flavors. The dish was served with some decent white rice, cooked with celery and carrots, and some very forgettable corn tortillas. Not the citys best mole but good enough to make me want to return to try other dishes.
Dont miss the back of the menu with the drinks (as I did). Listed are chiles en nogada and tamales oaxaqueños both of which sound well worth a try.
Weekends are probably the time to go because there are several special dishes including Oaxacan empanadas (with mole amarillo and mushrooms), special quesadillas, pozole, huaraches, etc.
I wouldnt pass on breakfast because there are a few less common offerings. Things like chilaquiles four ways (verdes, rojos, guajillo, o de frijol), entomatades and enfrîjolades which as far as I can tell are vaguely like flautas with either a tomato or bean sauce. Also machacado con huevo and huevos chicharron.
All prices are very reasonable. The most expensive thing on the menu is Carne a la Tampiqueña for $8.50.
After dinner I had my heart set on trying the homemade Italian style ice cream (37 cents a scoop!) a few blocks away on 47th St. Id noticed this little sweet shop on a previous visit to the neighborhood and had been thinking about it ever since. It turns out that Ricoline (1817 W 47th) is now closed, for ever apparently.
4612 S Ashland Av
Chicago (Back of the Yards)
Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat-Sun 10-9