Our first challenge was trying to discern the difference between the two bowls of salsa set before us. One was tangy and bright-tasting, the other salty and subtle. The server solved the mystery for us. The tangy salsa was pickled jalapeños, blended with tomatoes and a healthy dose of salt. The second was roasted peppers (the bits of char in the salsa lent a clue) in tomato sauce. Both were quite chip-dippable. Our second challenge was choosing what it was that we wanted to eat. We contemplated it over margaritas that tasted fresh and did not have that cloying sweetness one usually finds with mixes. My friend settled on an chicken enchilada in mole sauce, I opted for a combo plate of a shrimp chimichanga and chicken burrito. Neither was anything special -- they were standard for a neighborhood margarita joint. The true draw of El Mariachi is the fact that this tiny Lakeview resto is seldom crowded, making it a nice place to stop for sustenance on an otherwise populous strip of North Broadway. Outside of that, everything is satisfyingly predictable, from the grub to the bad paintings of Mexican villas and the sombreros on the wall. We tipped our hats to the fine Mexican ballads that formed a backdrop to an average but pleasantly tranquil meal. There's a second location at 3906 N. Broadway (773- 549-2932).
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