Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wholly Frijoles

Location: 3908 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood
Cost: About $10 per person

Sometimes there's a perfect storm of circumstances that makes for a great meal. My friend's Sophia and Amy had independently mentioned they wanted to grab lunch, Ali was in town from Denver, Nicki was in town from New Orleans, and Noam was in town from Baltimore. The one thing they all had in common was that they lived in or around Lincolnwood. Per Sophia's recommendation and everyone's enthusiastic response to the suggestion, we all hit up Wholly Frijoles for lunch.

Wholly Frijoles has a pretty straightforward layout in a strip mall style setup. They have very limited parking, but we found something on one of the surrounding streets. They sat us at a rather oversized and yet cramped table in the back (cramped because some of us were jammed against the wall). We were sat immediately for lunch, but I've heard that for dinner this place gets packed. I'm not sure whether or not they take dinner reservations.

The waitress was a bit slow throughout our meal, and the food took longer than it probably should have. I think she was given a few too many tables to cover. They did, however, keep the chips and salsa full the whole time. The cost was rather cheap for the quality and quantity of food it came with. They had quick and easy options like burrito platters for $7, and they had more elegant items like steak and fish in the $15 range. Everything came with a nice bowl of tortilla soup, further sweetening the deal.

The Food
Every dish comes with a choice of Tortilla Soup or Salad which is how we got the ball rolling. The salad had a nice mix of corn and tortilla strips, and was heavily dressed. The soup was hearty, bone warming, and just straight up delicious.

The House Salad

 The Tortilla Soup

The common order at the table was the burrito. Some got it fried while others got it plain. The fried option (I'm not sure why they don't call it a chimichanga) is definitely the way to go. The crispy tortilla shell is fantastic and goes great with the salsa and cream sauce they top it with. The regular burrito is still good, don't get me wrong, but the fried one has better texture, flavor, and presentation. To shake things up, Nicki got the steak. It was prepared to a nice medium rare and topped with cilantro and queso blanco. I decided to go a different way as well with the grilled snapper fajitas. The fish was cooked properly and had a nice little char on the outside. The tangy and savory Mexican rub it came with put the dish over the top.

The Horchata

The Fried Burrito

The Regular Burrito

The Grilled Snapper Fajitas

 The Steak Platter

If you come across someone from Lincolnwood, it's pretty safe to say that they'll be a big fan of Wholly Frijoles, and I can clearly see why. The food is cheap, large, tasty, and looks great when it comes out. It'd probably be worth it just to come here for the soup, but then you'd be missing out on the fried burrito and grilled snapper. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it! It is one of our favorites. You need to try it for dinner.
    You didn't mention that it is byob. They do not charge any corkage fee!
    At dinner they also have some great specials one we have had a few times is a rib eye, chipotle mash potatoes and a mole covered enchilada. OMG! It is awesome.
    They do a good job with the chips as you said, and upon request they will bring you a sauce that has some kick, very nice!
    We have found the service tube good. The soup or sald is a nice touch. Try the fried ice cream, mucho nice.
    They also recently opened a place in gurnee. But from north and clyborn you would need to bring your passport!
    As always, I enjoy the blog.
    Ron Dickstein