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Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant: Tasty Mexican Food on Gay Street

This neighborhood take-out place also features in-house dining.

For years, like most people in the neighborhood, when I felt like Mexican, I simply picked up the phone and called Los Mariachis. Take-out there is quick, tasty and inexpensive, just what you want when you don’t want to cook, but don’t want to go out, either.

However, for a review, I thought I should sit down and see how “eat-in” compares to “take-out.” I called Denise, who loves Mexican food, and we walked down to the restaurant.

One of the owners brought us a basket of fried tortilla chips with a cup each of red (hot) and green (mild) smooth sauces, which isn’t included in take-out.  Each table also had three different Mexican hot sauces to add to your meal.  For take-out, only one unmarked container of hot sauce is included.

Denise chose a Lime Jarritos soda ($2.00) from the glass-fronted refrigerator while I ordered a glass of Horchata ($2.00), the rice-based Latin American drink. This version of horchata was sweeter than others I’ve had in town and darker with cinnamon.  I love cinnamon, so enjoyed the drink.

The menu features four types of nachos.  We chose the Nachos con Queso Frijoles y Guacamole ($7.00) which translates to nachos with cheese, beans and guacamole.  The dish we received was lavish with the listed ingredients (soft melted cheese, refried beans and lots of bright green guacamole) and also featured diced tomato which enhanced the overall flavor.  The serving was an ample appetizer for three or four people, but we enjoyed it so much we ate it all!

For an entrée, Denise chose the Enchiladas de Mole ($8.75) which are four flour tortillas rolled around a filling, topped with a dark, spice-filled mole sauce and served with fluffy yellow rice and a satisfying pool of refried beans.  The filling choices are cheese, steak and chicken and you can choose any combination of those that you like.  Denise picked two cheese, one steak and one chicken enchilada.  She enjoyed the “kitchen sink of spices” in the mole sauce, but I thought the combination was too bitter for my taste.

I chose the Tex-Mex Combo ($10.75) which was three chicken tacos, one pork tamale and one chicken chimi also served with rice and refried beans.  The chimi, a flour tortilla folded in a rectangle around a chicken breast filling and topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese, was the best item in the combo.  The tacos, flour tortillas wrapped around chicken, fresh lettuce, tomato and cheese, were also nice.  Unfortunately, the tamale recipe appears to have changed for the worse at Los Mariachis.  The masa harina (corn flour) dough was dry and oddly spiced while the pork filling was practically non-existent and marred by a large glob of fat.

We’d never ordered dessert when doing take-out, but there was a sign advertising flan over the soda case, so we split an order.  What arrived was a classic Spanish flan ($3.50) – heavy with egg, spiked with cinnamon and topped with the traditional “burnt sugar” caramel sauce. It’s worth adding to your take-out order if you’re looking to end your meal with something sweet, yet solid.

Service is focused on the take-out trade, which is brisk, so if you want something, you need to catch the servers’ attention.  They will fulfill your request promptly, but you do have to ask first.  Some of the servers’ English is better than others, but the family owners will do their best to answer your questions.

Specials are listed in Spanish on the side wall leading to the kitchen.  The menus on the table seem to list all of the offerings and have English translations for most of the selections.

We liked the bright, cheerful room with hand-painted accents.  There’s a TV in a corner which the family owners watch when the evening has only take-out trade.  Denise loved having five different hot sauces to choose from, which only happens when you “eat-in.”

If you want Mexican food to eat at home, be like those of us in the neighborhood and order take-out at Los Mariachis.  If you want to eat Mexican at an unpretentious family-run business, consider “eating in” instead.

If You Go:

Location: 201 Gay Street, Phoenixville

Cost:  $2.00 to $22.00

Phone:  610-935-2659

Website:  http://www.losmariachismexicanrestaurant.com/
or their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Los-Mariachis/152639428105173

Hours:    Monday through Thursday:  11 am to 9:30 pm

               Friday through Sunday:  11 am to 10:30 pm

Payments accepted: Cash

Parking: On-street free parking

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