Nine burritos headline the menu at El Porton Mexican Restaurant. Almost as many steaks and chimichangas appear on the food list. The kitchen team might wrap tortillas around slices of grilled steak before coating it with green sauce, cheese, or enchilada sauces to craft burritos or enchiladas. They can arrange mixed vegetables, shrimp, and steak in the fajita plates that sizzle like sparklers on July 8—after a Woodstock-sized sparkler clearance sale. These fajitas are served with flour or corn tortillas in portions big enough for one or two. Cooks can also prepare whole marinate tilapias in the mojarra tilapia dish or sauté a dozen shrimp with garlic for the camarones al mojo de ajo.
Though the Midwest isn?t the most obvious locale for modern latin fusion cuisine, Flaco?s Cocina?from patio to downstairs lounge?proves that dishes can still taste authentic in the middle of the country. Everything about the restaurant exudes a latin ambiance, from the giant fish mosaics, painted beach scenes and live music of El Paraiso Lounge to the bright blue walls and red chairs that play calypso music each time a diner stands up. Amid the vibrant dining room, downstairs lounge, and airy patio, guests dig into fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas that teem with seafood, spices, and citrus touches. To complement the spicy eats, margaritas douse tongues with a choice of handpicked tequilas?such as Don Julio Silver, Patron Silver, and Cabo Wabo?which guests can also enjoy at the full bar in the newly opened downstairs El Paraiso Lounge. Sleek hardwood floors run throughout, supporting a stage that plays home to an eclectic lineup of live music. The downstairs area also hosts special events, private parties, holiday celebrations, and salsa lessons on its spacious dance floor. Live music and DJs are an extra fee.
This cheerful quick-service eatery was named for the guajillo chili—a flavorful red pepper that can be blended into salsas, stirred into stew, or transformed into a puppet using googly eyes and pipe cleaners. The cooks at Guajillo Mexican Grill whip up their own version of fiery guajillo salsa, along with a milder pico de gallo and a tangy tomatillo sauce. They spread the salsas onto an array of freshly made Mexican specialties, including tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas. To craft burritos, they roll tender meats and fresh vegetables into a customer's choice of traditional, spinach, wheat, or tomato tortillas.
Customers stroll down the front counter, requesting meat, bean, and salsa choices from the bustling staff. Trays in hand, customers head to the front patio to dig into hearty steak nachos and cheesy veggie quesadillas. Others opt for catering services—ideal for feeding guests at a party, coworkers at a company lunch, or angry crowds at a Black Friday sale.
Plates of queso fundido overflow with cheese and chorizo at tables around Chihuahua's Mexican Restaurant, where diners sip five types of refreshing margaritas. In the kitchen, cooks flip sizzling shrimp to include in savory quesadillas, or wrap jumbo shrimp in bacon to fill Juarez fajitas packed with bell peppers and onions.
At El Paisano, it?s not uncommon to spot a baby in a giant sombrero or a mariachi serenading a diner with a tiny trumpet. This lively Mexican eatery bustles with color and energy from morning until nightfall?particularly on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, when it plays host to live mariachi performances. Attentive servers bustle about the bright dining room, toting complimentary chips and salsa and giant frozen margaritas. Colorful hanging lights illuminate the festive tablecloths and Mexican murals that stretch across the walls.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, seasoned chefs fold meats and seafood into authentic Mexican specialties?from cheesy chicken chilaquiles to creamy lobster enchiladas. To craft their specialty parrillada dish, they sizzle Spanish-style sausage, grilled steak, chicken breast, and bacon-wrapped jumbo shrimp on a crackling skillet. For dessert, the chefs eschew lackluster meal enders such as cheesecake bought from the store or plastic crumpets borrowed from a child?s tea set in favor of flan, tres leches cake, and other authentically prepared regional specialties.