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Updated June 2016 Chencha y Chole (“C y C”) opened in June of 2015 in a distinctive, triangular shaped storefront at the intersection of Cass and S. Broad. Over the past year we’ve eaten there many times. It’s consistently good: and it’s become one of our favorite Latino restaurants in town.
C y C is a Mexican Restaurant, family owned and operated. The owner and his wife do most of the cooking. Their daughter sometimes works in the kitchen, and sometimes waits tables. Most of the time the daughter’s husband acts as front-of-house manager and will take your order. He’s Guatemalan, and speaks fluent English (as does his wife). So if you’re menu-Spanish is limited, you don’t need to worry about paying Chencha y Chole a visit.
The Latino restaurant segment is currently the most competitive in Trenton. At least four, decent Mexican restaurants have opened up in the past 9 months, not to mention 2 or 3 Guatemalan joints (joining a pretty good base of long-established Latino restaurants). While Guatemalan and Mexican lead Trenton in terms of popularity, you can also find restaurants specializing in Dominican, Costa Rican, and Puerto Rican food in town. So it’s a very crowded field.
What makes C y C stand out? I’d focus on 3 areas: 1) It’s one of the friendliest restaurants in town. 2) It’s generally a cheerful place to eat a meal. Not fancy, mind you, it’s still pretty much a dive, but it’s clean, and the owners have taken care to decorate the tables and walls with some care. And, 3) the food is consistently good.
C y C is a self-described “Authentic Mexican Kitchen”. And it is! Virtually everything is home made, from the wonderful, subtle salsas that your server places on the table, to the hand-pressed tortillas you get with your meal. These are thin, Mexican-style tortillas, not to be confused with thick, Guatemalan-style ones.
I’ve now sampled a pretty broad cross-section of their menu.
Everything I’ve had is good… not necessarily the BEST you can find in town, but very good and attractively plated. All impeccably home-made. An exception is the chicken Mole you see in the photo. This possibly is the best in town (though Tierra Maya’s is pretty special as well).
Many consider Mole the national sauce of Mexico. It’s made from onions, garlic, a blend of spices (which varies from village to village and cook to cook) and, critically, unsweetened chocolate. C y C’s is subtle and delicious. I ended up eating all the chicken and mopping up every last drop of mole sauce from my plate using tortillas.
Recently, I took a successful restauranteur to lunch at Chenche y Chole for a business meeting. This is a man who started and currently owns several successful restaurants which we would categories as $$$ or $$$$ in Hidden Trenton. I recommended the mole (with some trepidation). I shouldn’t have worried: he loved it and ate his entire meal with gusto, avidly soaking up the mole sauce with his rice and tortillas.
C y C is open seven days. There are weekend (Sat/Sunday) specials, including this superb seafood soup. This is my wife’s favorite. It’s always been impeccably fresh. Contents vary depending on availability: this version featured crab and mussels. At a recent outing, it featured clams, fish filet, and octopus. Always superb!
It has an extensive breakfast menu which I haven’t yet tried, but am excited about. The restaurant takes credit cards, and offers free WiFi to patrons.