Xilonen opened in the huge corner space on the Greenpoint side of McCarren Park (where Sauvage used to be) at the very beginning of 2021. Like its sister restaurant in the same neighborhood, Oxomoco, this place serves Mexican food best enjoyed with a drink outside. Although there are two main differences here. The first: Xilonen’s menu is entirely vegan and vegetarian.
The second is that, a few hours after eating brunch here, stunning vegetables will appear in places you don’t expect. You’ll think, is that a traffic light turning yellow, or is it a tender root vegetable with impeccable char? Or possibly, those piano keys have an incandescent orange hue and look delicious, should I eat them?” This food is thrilling to eat, partly because it’s prettier than anything that happened to us in 2020 and partly because of Xilonen’s commitment to letting vegetables be the stars of every bite.
Xilonen serves a daytime menu (from 10am to 4pm) and a dinner menu (4pm to 9pm), and so far we've only tried brunch. Stop by for some horchata and a light, refreshing brunch on their heated outdoor patio out front, or order takeout by calling 929-272-0370. It’s the kind of place that will stand out in your memory for weeks to come, even if you’re neither a vegetarian nor a vegan.
Get this. Not because it’s beautiful, but because of the satisfying combination of crispy-soft textures. This taco arrives flat with a purple potato pancake laying on a soft tortilla sourced from Mexican corn. The whole thing is drizzled in a sharp honey nut queso the color of yellow mustard, and finished with a couple of dollops of tomatillo salsa on top for extra zing.
Xilonen’s carrot tostada is unmissable. The navy bean mash underneath the shimmering carrots adheres everything together nicely, and its spiced maple flavor so acutely hits the acid-sweet combo needed to start an average Saturday.
Remember when everyone started tie-dying at home during quarantine in 2020? We can only assume that they were all striving for the look of this green chorizo quesadilla. This hefty tortilla is topped with tofu instead of chorizo, plenty of hoja santa herbs, and a creamy tie-dye coat of black bean and avocado sauces. It’s admittedly next-to-impossible to eat without making a mess, but you shouldn’t be sharing this anyway. Eat it all yourself.
This is the only dish we tried that we wouldn’t recommend. They arrived tepid and stiff, without a doughy center.