Restaurante el Mogote sates cravings for casual Mexican fare in a corner brick cantina with picture windows. Mornings begin with plates of eggs, garnished, like meaty dinner specials, with rice, beans, and salad. Silverware is optional with dishes such as tostadas and tacos, which are heavy with fillings such as avocado or the restaurant's popular skirt steak. Here, tamales with red or green salsa augment meals as sides, not as reminders of unwritten Christmas cards, and sips of aguas frescas come as sweet interludes between bites, or primers for classic, dairy-filled desserts.
The chefs at 4 Hermanos grill and sauté authentic Mexican fare, trimmed with gooey cheese, cool guacamole, and dollops of sour cream. The extensive menu sidekicks more than 15 burritos and tortas with combination platters that ease decision making by uniting meats, beans, and veggies in a single forkful. The restaurants' catering menu proffers trays of steak and chicken fajitas, encouraging gatherings of 15–35 friends or family members. The original 4 Hermanos restaurant opened in Jefferson Park in 2001, and the Forest Glen location was born seven years later, sprouting fully formed from an avocado seed planted in the soil.
Jaime and Mary Cianca, owners of Tuxpan Mexican Grill, create a menu of authentic Mexican fare based on recipes from their hometown of Tuxpan, Mexico. Inside the kitchen Jaime, also acting as head chef, fills tacos with steak, seasoned pork, and cilantro, and prepares signature dishes—including chicken topped with house-made red or green mole sauce. Meanwhile, Mary, also working as a server, delivers plates of the popular shrimp fajitas and tall glasses of horchata to diners, leading the bilingual staff with instructions in both English and Spanish. Additionally, customers may choose to bring in a favorite bottle of wine to uncork during dinner thanks to the restaurant’s BYOB policy. The dining area’s orange-hued walls are adorned with butterfly decorations to mimic the famous winter migration of monarchs to the forests of Tuxpan, before for they head to their retirement community in Florida.
The cooks at Mom’s Old Recipe Mexican Restaurant concoct authentic home-style entrees and desserts using fresh, traditional ingredients. Start with a light, limey shrimp ceviche tossed with tomatoes and cilantro ($9.25) before diving into the dark, chocolaty waves of enchiladas moles stuffed with chicken ($9.25), ground beef ($9.25), or steak ($10.25). The carne asada is a Mom's specialty and shares plate space with house-made jalapeño-and-onion potatoes as well as rice, beans, and optional table-mate repellent. Meals can end sweetly with a saucerful of flan ($4) or crispy sopapillas ($6).
Chef Luis Perez boasts an extensive experience with food, with a childhood spent taste-testing his mother's traditional Mexican dishes and a decade mastering European bistro cuisine under Chicago chef Jack Jones. Like the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, the menu at Perez's Lincoln Square restaurant is a memorable meeting of France and Mexico, resulting in plates of smoked-duck nachos, mint-roasted lamb with brandy-guajillo sauce, and cremini-mushroom quesadillas filled with goat cheese. Surrounded by sunny yellow walls and flowing baby-blue drapes, guests dine on dishes that fuse savory and sweet, such as the almond-crusted trout covered in creamy coconut sauce or center-cut pork chops with plum mole. Desserts of caramel-covered flan and rich tres-leches sponge cake cap off these eclectic suppers, as diners raise toasts with glasses of BYO beverages.