An American tourist in Mexico might stroll by a restaurant decorated with goat horns and not give the decor a second thought. However, the horns do often signify something special: birria, a hearty mexican stew from the state of Jalisco. And while Mr. Burritos and Los Lokos Burritos may not have goat horns strung across its walls, its chefs do make the spicy, soul-warming treat—but only on weekends.
The name Mr. Burritos should give away the eatery’s other specialty, which comes in nearly 20 varieties—including two vegetarian options and two sizes, baby or giant. Similar spiced meats, such as barbacoa, steak, and carnitas, also fill tacos and chimichangas. People who weirdly enjoy mornings can stop by in the a.m. for a hearty Mexican breakfast of eggs and chorizo. Aside from inviting guests to test their heat tolerances at three locations, Mr. Burritos and Los Lokos Burritos deliver their food directly to doorsteps and can also cater events such as birthday parties and presidential debates.
In the kitchen of El Sombrero Restaurant, Chef Ignacio "Nacho" Suchil prepares Mexican favorites such as big burritos, corn-tortilla enchiladas, and fish tacos made with icelandic cod and lime. While live music plays in the dining room, he splashes housemade creole sauce onto grilled shrimp and tosses skirt steaks onto blazing grills. El Sombrero Restaurant augments its eats with a game room, outdoor seating, and a lunch buffet on Wednesdays and Fridays.
At Amada's Cafe, a sprawling menu of authentic Mexican and Cuban dishes keeps palates satisfied into the late hours. Tacos arrive inside corn or flour tortillas carrying flavorful bounties of carne asada, chorizo, chili rellenos, or pirate gold. Guests can pair seafood dishes such as breaded shrimp or whole red snapper grilled in butter and garlic with refreshing glasses of horchata. The slate of Cuban dishes ranges from classic cuban sandwiches topped with roasted pork, ham, and pickles to ropa vieja, tender pieces of shredded beef bathed in a Cuban-style tomato sauce.
Armed with family recipes and more than 17 years of expertise in the Chicago restaurant scene, chef Marylou Marquez fills Caliente Mexican Restaurant's bustling kitchens with dishes inspired by Guadalajara, Jalisco. Veracruzana tomato sauce lends filets of fish an earthy tone, and spicy chile de arbol and ranchera sauces complement enchiladas and tender grilled steaks. Fruit-filled cinnamon-sugar tacos, and flan with Mexican eggnog top off gustatory forays as diners admire the dining room's photo mural of rustic kitchen scenes and tropical fruit.
Before a wall hung with sparkling silver tinsel, karaoke singers, salsa dancers, and Mexican guitarists take the stage throughout the week, serenading diners and besotted tostadas alike. Caliente also caters special events and wraps up entrees for handy to-go ordering.
The beats of lean cuts of meat sizzling on the grill and ladles clanking against trays of zesty vegetables fill Qdoba Mexican Grill during construction of made-to-order Mexican fare. As healthy-eating devotees, Qdoba's staff stocks its kitchen with nutritious ingredients, seasonal flavors, and 100% cotton candy–free tortillas.
Taco Village's menu reads like a love letter written to fresh, authentic Mexican fare decorated in signature sauces and spices. The taco plate partners refried beans with rice ($7.95) and loaded nachos banish hunger while wearing a crown of refried beans, jalapeño peppers, melted cheese, guacamole, and sour cream ($6.50). Taco Village chefs are well-versed in classic dishes, such as cheese quesadillas ($4.75), pork tamales ($1.95), and tortas ($5.95), all of which can be painted with six freshly prepared salsas for edible art. Stomachs suffering from black holism can be finally filled with the approximately 20-inch, 5-pound El Jefe burrito. If El Jefe vanishes in less than 10 minutes, wallets get off scot-free. Breakfast options are available all day, and homemade horchata slakes thirst ($1.59).