Fall Comforts: Poquitos’ Pork Cheek Pibil

Photo by Charlie Ainslie.

Viva otoño with this ode to Mexican slow-roasted pork and potatoes.

Poquito's Pork Cheek Pibil with Crispy Potatoes and Pickled Fresno Chiles. Photo by Charlie Ainslie.

The Scoop: Authenticity is key for Poquitos, one of Capitol Hill’s lone wolf Mexican joints. Perked on the corner of 10th and Pike in a building that is nearly a century old, Poquitos features no-frills standard margaritas, housemade corn tortillas and their notorious Chicharrones, also known as crispy fried pork skin.

The artfully landscaped restaurant concept was constructed tile-by-tile by Deming Maclise and  James Weimann, who previously collaborated to revive Paris at Bastille in Ballard. Five years and a few trips to Mexico later, the duo was ready to bring home the entire culture of Latin American cooking — in other words, much more than just chips and salsa.

Crave Factor: Pork pibil is a traditional Yucatan Peninsulta dish. Pork cheeks are slow-roasted in a marinade of acidic citrus juice and annatto seed for coloring and pepper notes. Slowly cooking the medallion-sized jowls is key to capturing the rich piquancy of these flavorful delicacies. The crunch of crispy potato is a wonderful complement to the tender meat. 

The restaurant offers a vast menu of platters, specials, enchiladas and tacos created by Chef Manny Arce, a Southern California native and former Bastille gourmand who is quite familiar with cuisine south of the border.

Fun Fact: The owners found the vintage, neon “Poquitos” sign that adorns their restaurant’s exterior in a shop in SoDo.

Pork Cheek Pibil with Crispy Potatoes and Pickled Fresno Chiles – $17.

Poquitos | 1000 Pike St., Seattle | (206) 453-4216