Not too surprising to give an enthusiastic thumbs up to a Rick Bayless spot. I went after work Friday, so no lines, a huge bonus. The menu is both simple in its presentation, but appropriately complicated with the items served. I wanted to warm up from the bitter cold so I optioned for an authentic hot chocolate made with real chocolate + water only. Strong flavor, not for the faint of heart or anyone not in love with chocolate. Definitely not what most Americans are used to but give it a try for chocolate fans, just don't ask for whip cream on top. As for the main course, I opted for the Milanesa torta and was that a great choice. Crispy chicken (think fried breaded goodness NOT from KFC) with Jack cheese, avocado salsa, jalapenos and black beans. Yes, it tasted as good as it sounds. My friend had the vegetable soup, enjoyed it without much fanfare. I think I won the order battle (does anyone else play this game?). Also, don't fret about leaving hungry, the portions are plenty and leave room for dessert (something I'll have to do next time). I recommend checking out this new hot spot (especially with no lines) and as an other urbanspooner put it, $9 is a steal for flavorful dishes from a world class Chef Bayless.
P.S. The Barcelona Hot Chocoalte and the Carnitas Caldo both made TOC 2009 Best Dish List. Entire list is here.