P. Japhen Torres continues the tradition of his family by opening an authentic New Mexico Restaurant. This is a very small restaurant that is BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) P. Japhen and his wife both work in the establishment. Both take orders, serve, and sometimes cook.
The restaurant was named Zia after the Zia Pueblo Indians. Zia is the Sun Symbol, and it also serves as the insignia of the state of New Mexico. The Torres family come from central New Mexico, and their literature indicates that they are "steeped in tradition; the most important, devotion to family, love of food" What a wonderful motto.
They want to grow their business as the family always has for three generations:
Withauthenticity, consistency, unparalleled service.
As I said, Zia is small. There's enough room for about 8 tables plus an outdoor table on a small step landing. In addition, there are about 10 stools along a long counter against one wall. The food, in taste and value, makes up for their small size. New Mexico cuisine is distinguised by the use of red and green pepper sauces. They offer Lunch specials between 12p.m.-4:30p.m for 15% discount off all orders.
Visa, Master Card, Discover are accepted.
Monday -Thursday: 12 p.m.-9 p.m.
Friday 12 p.m.-10p.m.
Saturday 12 p.m.-10p.m.
Closed on Sundays
Favorite Dish: They serve Salsa and Homemade Tortilla Chips, with the first order being complimentary.
They have the usual Appetizers such as Guacamole, Chile con Queso, Nachos, and Quesadeillas. However, they also serve Green Chile Cheese Fries! (French fries smothered with cheese and New Mexican green chile.)
Their New Mexican Entrees include:
Enchiladas, Stuffed Sopaipilla ( like flat bread), Tostadas, Tamales, Tacos, and Burrito.
Their Zia Specials include:
Chile Rellenos, Fajitas, Pollo Torta, Tortilla Burger, and Carne Adovada.
I ordered Carne Adovada, which is shredded pork marinated and baked in New Mexico red chile. It comes with potatoes, beans and tortillas. I don't eat potatoes so I asked not to have them. The pork was excellent. I placed it and the refried beans on warm flour tortillas and enjoyed them very much.
Allan ordered Tacos with beef, which was served with rice, beans, and two sopaipillas.
The service was somewhat slow, but since we were not in a hurry, it did not trouble us.
Because it is BYOB, people bring, for instance, Mexican beer. The waiters take it in the back, open the bottles, place them in tin buckets filled with ice and serve you a small plate of limes to go into the beer. It's really quite clever.
I would highly recommend Zia, a New Mexico Cafe in Chicago.