There's some volatility amid all this. The suburban Yucatecan restaurant Xni-Pec, also on the Bib Gourmand list, is closing at the end of the month. El Maya is located in what was formerly a spin-off of Logan Square's Chilapan; Frida's is a surviving spin-off of Andersonville's now-closed La Cucina de Frida. For years Frontera alum Geno Bahena popped up hither and thither all over town, leaving quite a few closed restaurants in his broad wake.
The trend continues, though. Wicker Park's Antique Taco, which opened just last summer, got its Michelin nod while still brand-new. Lakeview's Chilam Balam, another honoree, now has a sibling, Shaman, in West Town.
But we were at El Maya. The hostess was warm, the rooms brightly painted, the entrees solid—and I still kept thinking about a certain competitor's lamb with Oaxacan mole negro. It's rough out there.
El Maya, 1522 W. Montrose, 773-878-1882
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