Chiles & Chocolate

Shrimp Ceviche

Holy mole!

A Groupon coupon beckoned us to have Mexican food from Chiles & Chocolate in Chelsea.  The restaurant has got a pretty eccentric ambiance - a lot of mirrored walls, dark wood surfaces, and multicolored Christmas lights everywhere. Our Groupon allowed for appetizers, entrees, and dessert, one apiece, so we went all out.

I had shrimp ceviche and Alex had guacamole.  The shrimp came out on a plate...which was unexpected because I'd always thought of ceviche being served in a cup or margarita glass.  There was a little mound of shrimp in spicy red salsa, cilantro, peppers, and onions.  It wasn't what I expected of a ceviche, but it was tasty.  The shrimp wasn't so crisp and there were bites that were stinging in how spicy they were, but overall it was a nice appetizer.

Holy moly Chicken mole
The guacamole was served in a funny pig-shaped rustic mortar and a basket of tortilla chips.  The guac was tasty, though nothing really remarkable.  

Then, we had chicken mole and steak.  At first bite of the mole sauce for my chicken, I thought, "Oh gosh, why did I order this?" which probably isn't a good sign.  It was fairly bitter and tasted like what I'd imagine mud tastes like.  Uh oh.  But, then I had it with a bite of chicken and my whole worldview on mole sauce changed.  I mean, it wasn't fantastic, but at least it wasn't mud!  The chicken was comparably sweet and paired well with the mole sauce. The yellow rice with scallions on the side didn't hurt either.

Now that's a banana!
Eating the mole brought me back to high school, when a bunch of friends and I ventured to just-north-of-the-Brooklyn-Museum-of-Art to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant called Chavella's.  The place only sat like 10 people, and we were a group of 6.  It was a really fun dinner for me, which is probably why I still remember it years later.  I had a trio of salsas with tortilla chips and a sandwich of some sort, but what I remembered was my friend's chicken mole. She took one bite into it and declared that she didn't like it so I proceeded to eat her dinner for her.  I thought it was pretty good!  Definitely a different taste than anything I'd had before, so I thus enjoyed my first chicken mole.

The steak came with rice and beans on a big square plate; this restaurant has a heavy hand when it comes to sauce because both the chicken and steak were swimming in their respective sauces.  The steak was teeny tiny, but I guess it tasted pretty good.  There was nothing pretentious about it; it tasted like steak.

Flat flan
My happiest part of dinner was dessert.  I had the flan and Alex had the banana covered in chocolate sauce.  I barely even looked at the menu: I just saw flan and knew I had to have it.  It was a tiny little sliver of flan, drowned in a caramel sauce and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  It was really dense but heavenly!  The flan itself wasn't too sweet, and the caramel sauce with cinnamon was a really good flavor, not something I expected in a flan.  I have to admit, after I finished the flan (and, I really didn't want it to ever end; I could have eaten like ten servings), I was maneuvering my spoon along the plate to scoop up the remainder of the sauce, and if I were at home with no one watching, yes, I would have licked the plate.

Banana cross-section
The banana was covered in a dark chocolate sauce and tasted simply like the classic combination of banana and chocolate. I also wanted to lick the plate clean...

Overall, Chiles & Chocolate was an interesting step into Mexican food that doesn't involve me eating a burrito bowl (though I love my Chipotle...) and I would look forward to trying other forms of authentic Mexican food in the future.  But one of these days, I definitely need to schedule an appointment with my chicken burrito bowl...mmm.

Chiles & Chocolate
155 8th Avenue