Xochitl chef quits for Starr project

Dionicio Jimenez, who's been chef at the Society Hill Mexican spot Xochitl since its opening, has given notice.

Jimenez has joined the still-unnamed Stephen Starr Mexican project at 2013 Chestnut St. as exec chef, Starr told me.

Dionicio Jimenez

And Nicio is jumping in with both feet. Starr said the chef is booked to leave town on Friday with Starr development guys Chris Painter and Bradlee Bartram on a culinary trip to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Puebla.

In his 2007 review of Xochitl, The Inquirer's Craig LaBan praised "Jimenez's vision -- an intimate understanding of authentic flavors updated with a contemporary touch, high-grade ingredients, and a lightness that defies the leaden and over-spiced cliches of Mexican cooking."

The other part of this:

Xochitl will close after service on Sunday (2/7).

When it reopens two weeks later, it will have a new look, a new chef (Lucio Palazzo, a sous chef at sister restaurants Zahav and Percy Street Barbecue), and a new, streamlined menu that will be served seven days a week.

The change in decor will include a less formal dining area as owners Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov plan to open up a wall that will bring the main dining room and the bar together.