Food: 5/5: The food is top-notch. This is authentic Mexican cuisine, so do not expect Americanized Acapulco/El Torito/Chevys-type or processed-meat-and-cheese-type food or towering portions. Instead, expect to experience nuances of spices and flavor. The traditional mole was delicious. I also enjoyed the mushroom and cactus-stuffed chile relleno (a tasty vegetarian alternative to the Americanized deep-fried variety), I tried the chorizo fondue, which was excellent (eat it before it cools down). The homemade lemonade is one of the best I've tasted (I don't believe you get free refills, though-a small downside). The flan is definitely the best I've had. The rice pudding was not my cup of tea, but it had a distinct homemade flavor. Make sure to ask your waiter what they make on-site. Not everything is made from scratch in the kitchen (for instance, not the churros). If they make it in the kitchen, you won't be disappointed.
Service: 5/5: Our waiter did not speak perfect English, but we had little trouble communicating, and the concierge was right there to help when help was needed. The appetizers arrived a nice interval before the entrees. I was very happy with the service.
Restaurant Atmosphere 3/5: The restaurant is small but intimate with the kitchen cutting partway into the eating area. The bathroom is clear in back through part of the kitchen. The decor is humble but the ambiance is charming. There is not much in the way of seating, and even with the restaurant less than 1/3 full, it felt crowded at times.
Area Atmosphere 0/5: The restaurant is located in a bad area. Storefronts are barricaded by iron security doors. There is a noticeable presence of beggars (though no loiterers). While we were there we saw a motorcycle race down the street in front of the restaurant pursued by five police cruisers. I did not feel safe driving through the area, parking in the area, or walking (a short distance) to the restaurant. Certainly, I took part of that into the restaurant with me, and it intruded into the experience. However, I still tried it out and was not disappointed. As with any area, most of the people there are hard-workers just going about life, but wherever storefronts or houses resemble fortresses, keep your eyes open, keep your belongings close, park close, and keep an eye on your car. If you are really intimidated by the area, I suggest going for lunch instead of dinner. Next door is a wonderful place to pick up some fresh pan dulce. And remember, if this place didn't exist here, it probably wouldn't exist at all.
Value: I found the value to be spot on. The food is wonderful but the area is dismal, and location, atmosphere, and ambiance are part of what restaurants charge for. Anywhere else, I'd expect to pay at least double for this quality of food. For two people (one appetizer, one lemonade, two entrees, and two desserts), I paid around $35 before tip.
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