Tex-Mex and more

Mar 13, 2001 at 12:00 am

Best Mexican (Wayne County)

It’s hard to say just how many times Xochimilco’s has won the Metro Times readers’ poll for Best Mexican Restaurant in Wayne County. Hanging on the wall, right above the picture of the Virgin Mary, are plaques from 1988, ’90, ’91, ’94, ’96, ’97, ’98, and ’99. “But,” says manager Emilio Botello, “there were a couple of years when we won but didn’t get any plaque.” Named after the famous floating gardens just south of Mexico City, the restaurant has a menu that mixes Tex-Mex border food with more traditional Mexican specialties. The botanas and super nachos, according to Botello, are the most popular items. The botana is a bed of corn chips topped with refried beans, cheese, avocado, tomatoes and jalapeños. It’s listed as an appetizer, but add beef or chicken for $2.50 more and it’s a meal. If you are looking for something more authentic, there are traditional enchiladas and burritos on the menu, as well as menudo (a stew of tripe), chicken mole (a traditional Mexican sauce that includes chocolate), and chile rellenos (poblano peppers stuffed with cheese or ground beef, dressed in an egg batter and briefly fried). I stopped by on a Sunday afternoon and tried a Platillo Mexicano, a combination plate of carne de puerco (spicy pork stew), guizado de res (beef stew) and picadillo (spiced ground beef, like taco filling). Served with rice, beans and tortillas, with even a bit of salad tucked on the platter, it was a hearty meal for $7.75. Owned by Rudy and Sally Morales, Xochimilco’s is a sprawling place that seats 250 on two levels. Botello began at the restaurant 15 years ago, working his way up from busboy. Botello admits that other restaurants on Detroit’s southwest side have similar menus, but feels that it is the fresh food, good prices and friendly service that account for Xochimilco’s popularity.