It doesn’t make any sense that this would be the last Mexico City restaurant I write about because it was one of our favorite, though incomprehensive, meals we had on vacation. Sometimes there’s not a lot to say about the satisfying so I’ve kept mum.
I have no idea how to pronounce Coox Hanal (“let’s eat”) as it’s not Spanish but Mayan. I don’t imagine the first word is like kooks. And accordingly, the food hails from the Yucatan. We only tried two snacky dishes, which was unfortunate, because this style of cooking is unique. NYC is very Pueblan so there are many regional styles I rarely get to explore. I’d also intended to visit a Oaxacan restaurant, La Bella Lula in Coyoacán, but time didn’t allow.
James had panuchos, bean-filled corn tortillas that gets topped with a variety of shredded meat. These ones used cochinita pibil pork, my recent obsession. My salbutes were similar but lacked the beany center and came with turkey, lettuce, cucumbers and tomato. Both are akin to what American would call tostadas, but the tortillas aren’t crisp like chips; they’re fried and pliable. Fierce habanero salsas and red pickled onions are classic accompaniments.
We very lightly scratched the surface. I want to know more about relleno negro, an ominously black stew made dark from a burnt chiles paste. Turkey frequently gets added and I think the relleno is a dumpling-like wad crafted from corn. I’m also curious about sopa de lima, a sour chicken soup using a fruit that’s not really a lime or a lemon, full on cochinita pibil and what everyone in the restaurant was eating that left a cleaned dinosaur-sized bone on the plate. I’m suspecting it was pavo (turkey) based since that seems to be a popular protein.
We considered going back a second time but we were so traumatized by our Centro Turibus experience that I’d sworn off the overrun barrio. Wishing we had a Coox Hanal walking distance to our Condesa hotel was reminiscent of our longing for real Thai food in South Brooklyn. Sometimes foot travel doesn't cut it.
Coox Hanal * Isabel la Catolica 83, 2nd Fl., Mexico City, Mexico