Xni-Pec de Yucatan, the Brookfield restaurant specializing in the cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, was recently named one of the Michelin Guide’s “Bib Gourmand” eateries.
While it’s not exactly like getting a Michelin star rating, the Bib Gourmand designation signifies quality cuisine at a reasonable price. For the Michelin Guide, it means “restaurants [that] offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included) and are often of most value to a city’s residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants.”
Antonio Contreras, whose family operates the restaurant, said he found out about the honor on Nov. 9.
Xni-Pec is one of 17 new additions to the Chicago Bib Gourmand list. Other new Bib Gourmand restaurants included Avec and Perennial Virant. Remaining on the list from previous years were such big-time Chicago eateries as Frontera Grill, The Girl and the Goat, Lula Café and The Publican.
“It’s absolutely very rewarding,” Contreras said. “We’ve been reviewed before, but we didn’t even think about Michelin. When you think of them, you think of the big star restaurants. But it’s nice for us to have been under consideration.”
Xni-Pec opened in Brookfield at 3755 Grand Blvd. in January 2010, moving to the village from its previous home in Cicero. Yucatecan food differs from what one might think of as typical Mexican cuisine.
Its signature flavor comes from achiote paste, which traces its roots to the Mayan people who lived in the Yucatan. The paste includes such flavors as cumin, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and garlic.
“It’s hard to find any other place with Yucatecan food,” Contreras said. “People have come from far away to Brookfield to try this food.”
Contreras hopes that the notice from Michelin will bring even more of those folks from out of town to sample not only Xni-Pec, but other places nearby.
“It’s good for the town, not just for us,” said Contreras. “It’s always nice to have more people coming in.”