Mexicue Rolls Out a Burnt Ends Chili Special
At Midtown Lunch HQ, we get a lot of press releases on a daily basis. The majority come from chain restaurants pushing deals, such as ‘buy one get one free burritos’, or ridiculous concepts that most Midtown lunchers would never visit. But every once in a while, a reputable restaurant or vendor will give us a heads up on a new menu item or special, such as when Mexicue emailed us with the subject line of “Burnt Ends Chili” special. I would do a disservice to burnt ends trying to describe them and summarily why we got so excited about this email – so check out Serious Eats’ excellent description of this dish and you’ll understand why we dropped everything and hustled over to Mexicue for a try.
The new brisket chili can be put into a slider ($3), or served as a bread bowl ($6), and I chose the latter. A fist-sized spongy dinner roll is hollowed out and stuffed with the burnt end chili and topped with a Bobby Flay-esque smattering of supplementary ingredients –pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo and tortilla strips embedded into gooey cheese.
At this point, I had noted with slight annoyance that they had failed to provide a spoon, though it ended up being unnecessary to eat this dish. Pushing aside the flotsam and jetsam, I was slightly disappointed to see that the burnt ends had been shredded into beef floss, instead of the gloriously opulent nuggets of beef that I had envisioned. On the other hand, the chili was so packed with beef, that a fork was the appropriate utensil to consume this dish.
The flavors were gorgeously balanced – just enough heat to get your attention, and just enough vinegar to cut the heartiness of the meat. There’s also a bit of Mexican chocolate worked in to give depth, but the meatiness of the pulled burnt ends still stands on its own. For $6 it’s modestly sized, but the addition of a single slider or taco will still keep you under the $10 mark and will definitely fill you up.
The folks at Mexicue also mentioned that the burnt ends chili special will end with the cold weather, so make a point to check out this dish while you still can. Today they’re on 55th btw. Park+Madison, but as always you’ll want to check their Twitter feed or the ML Twitter Tracker before heading out.