Despite the stereotypical sign in front, featuring perfunctory serape and sombrero graphics, Mom's Old Recipe is an unexpectedly rewarding white-tablecloth restaurant featuring the food of Morelos. Huarachitos are small, delicately crisped corn flour "slippers" of cilantro, red onion, and cheese; molletes, a French-type roll topped with beans, melted cheese, and pico de gallo, does indeed seem like something a Morelense mom might make her kids for an after-escuela snack, simple and comfortably spiced. In addition to these two seldom-seen-in-Chicago starters, we enjoyed enfrijoladas, bean-covered tortillas wrapped around ham, a preparation our server told us is common in Morelos, as well as gambas al ajillo, plump shrimp seasoned and strewn among leathery shreds of charred chile. Mom's fish tacos prove that even tilapia can be made tasty when hard fried and drizzled with salsa verde. Mole is one measure of a Mexican chef's excellence, and Mom's version shows a sure hand, revealing layers of flavor through a skillful balance of seasonings. Hispanic staples that other Mexican restaurants might buy in bulk from third-party providers are here prepared in-house: beans, tortillas for several dishes, even piquant pickles. The juices for margaritas—pineapple, mango, papaya—are freshly squeezed, and like so much else here, they handily exceed expectations. After dinner, platanos apurados, Mom's version of bananas Foster, are flambeed tableside.
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