Of the countless restaurants that have pulled in and out of the bi-level space near the Farmingdale LIRR tracks, Chichimecas may prove to be the keeper. One reason is the track record of owners Alejandro (Alex) and Maria González, who have made their two Huntington restaurants -- Oaxaca and Quetzalcoatl -- destinations for authentic Mexican fare.
A spoonful of Alex González' heady, homey pozole, or pork and hominy soup, bespeaks his skill as executive chef. Accompanying the soup is a knockout pork tostada -- enough for a meal. A dish you won't find at typical suburban Mexican spots is the rousing choriqueso, a casserole of chorizo with jalapeño, refried beans and Oaxacan cheese. In contrast is the relatively humdrum shrimp Juchitan, shellfish sauteed with an ancho and mezcal-spiked red sauce. Guacamole, which may be ordered as an appetizer, is fueled by just the right combination of lime, jalapeño and cilantro. The menu refers to it as "heavenly" -- with justification.
The piquant green tomatillo sauce cloaks fine vegetable-stuffed enchiladas. At a recent lunch, very good Oaxacan tamales, corn husks stuffed with chicken and masa flour in a haunting mole sauce, were superior to the somewhat dry pork tamales with green sauce.
A genuine Mexican classic is the soft corn taco al pastor, with roasted spice-coated pork, chopped onion and cilantro. Not to be missed is the delectable pepian de puerco, hunks of pork cooked in a tart and nuanced pumpkin seed sauce.
Using the slow smoker from the site's prior incarnation, Chichimecas offers Mexican-style barbecue -- succulent, smoky ribs and juicy chicken with spice-coated burnished skin. Pulled pork, though, doesn't have the same pit-smoked depth. A side of cornbread, baked in muffin tins, is moist, not overly sweet. Fried plantains can be addictive.
To conclude: light and trembly flan or rich and creamy rice pudding.
When González is around, as he was during a dinner visit, his energy fills the place. One night, he even picked up a guitar for a duet with the singer-guitarist serenading the room.
Weekends, the menu is augmented with such country-style Mexican specialties as barbacoa (lamb wrapped in banana leaves and slowly oven-cooked) and mondongo (tripe with chilies and herbs). And al fresco dining is on the horizon -- which looks to be a sunny one.