The culinary doyens of Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant populate their expansive menu and combination plates with a scintillating selection of authentic recipes from beyond the Rio Grande. Lay the foundation for a feast with an order of nachos coated in cheese ($4.75), beans ($4.95), or beef ($5.25), before mouth-wrestling an ebullient chef's special such as the special Yucatan ($14.75), which intermingles slices of grilled steak and chicken breast with lemon-pepper shrimp and chorizo. The Vallarta's batch of mesquite-grilled shrimp with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and zucchini ($11.35) creates a sizzly foreground for flirting with a first date or coy ventriloquist dummy, and the enchilada supreme ($8.25) boasts a quartet of tortillas, each stuffed with one of the four elements of the earth: chicken, beef, beans, and cheese. Guadalajara balances a spicy repast with a sugary dessert of churros drizzled with chocolate sauce ($2.95) or fried ice cream ($4.10).
Fresh and tasty Mexican fare free of preservatives, MSG, and mummy crumbs fills the menu at Pancho Villa. Start with a small serving of guacamole and chips ($3) or an avocado caesar salad ($6.25) to jar rusty stomach gears into action. Hang a fang on the super vegetarian burrito, a tightly wrapped torpedo of rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and salsa ($6.25), or dine on chile-verde chicken ($9.35), steak and prawn quesadillas with cheese and salsa ($10.50), or pollo asado ($9.95). For dessert, fluff out your cheeks with flan ($3.75) or a churro ($1.50).
At Don Pepe Mexican Restaurant, an expansive menu of fajitas, burritos, and steaks illustrates the breadth and depth of the Mexican culinary tradition. Nachos in 10 varieties greet diners with juicy morsels of chicken or beef and a crunch that could wake a jet-lagged Rip Van Winkle. Enchiladas team up with tacos or tamales to form hearty combos, or go solo to showcase classic Mexican ingredients such as poblano peppers and green tomatillos. Quesadillas can be stuffed with vegetarian-friendly fillings, such as mushrooms, or meaty delights, such as house-made chorizo. To round out meals, xangos come with a dusting of cinnamon sugar that impresses sweet teeth as much as a coating of edible diamonds.
Though it’s far from the border, Nuevo Mexico Restaurante serves up dishes of traditional Mexican cuisine. The staff rolls seasoned pork or chicken burritos, stuffs taquitos with beef, or grills spinach and tucks it into quesadillas. One of the benefits of their location on the East Coast is the ability to ship in real blue crab from Maryland, granting chefs fresh ingredients for crab salads and enchiladas. One location’s decor unites rich wood accents with exposed red brick, a mural of a matador dodging a bull, and a bar that has three sides, like any argument between a husband and his wife with a crime-fighting alter-ego.
The sounds of sizzling fajitas and lively chatter mingle within Su Casa Mexican Restaurant, which lives up to its name with a menu of home-cooked Mexican and Tex-Mex entrees served in a cozy and convivial dining room. Glasses filled with foamy cerveza and smooth tequila clink against one another to commence meals of oven-baked chicken nachos, steak fajitas, and burritos stuffed with beans and tender meat. Cheese and potatoes fill the piñata-like chili rellenos, whose spice counteracts sips of an icy top-shelf margarita served blended, on the rocks, or filtered through the woven straw of the bartender’s sombrero.
Cha Cha's provides hungry patrons with a bevy of border-straddling dining options ranging from authentic Mexican cuisine to Tex-Mex and Southwestern favorites. The enchilada-centric menu allows diners to launch their feast rockets with an appetizer of enchilada dip—a creamy blend of green-chili queso, chicken, and melted cheese sealed in by a layer of sliced avocados ($7.49)—before tackling a myriad of 'chilada main courses, such as Cha Cha's signature cheese enchilada ($8.99). Or savor the taste of traditional street tacos stuffed with fajita beef, chicken, or blackened shrimp ($9.99) from the modern convenience of tables and chairs. Stubborn thirsts can be tackled with a double-punch-packed Margarona, the liquid lovechild of Jose Cuervo and Senorita Corona.