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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Casual restaurant

Sun–Fri 6:00am–11:00pm
Sat 6:00am–3:00am

Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Not accepted

West Side
1821 W. Commerce St.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 226-5410
El Chilaquil
Brush up your español; this is the real thing in every way

Even the most gringoid-looking among us are likely to be met with a Spanish greeting at the door of El Chilaquil. Smile. Say buenos días. And get ready to tuck into some of the city’s most uncompromising Tex-Mex—emphasis on the Mex.

We have always suggested buying a pound of the exemplary pork carnitas (ask for some bigger, moister pieces if a lot of crisp bits don’t appeal) and simply settling back with a stack of fragrant tortillas (corn, please), salsas, and some bowls of frijoles charros. For the more adventurous types, a pound of morcon (it’s usually defined as a sausage, but here comes straight from the stomach of a pig) won’t hurt. But as the puro-Westside restaurant has grown over the years, so has the menu.

Tacos de canasta are simple starters with red sauce and (our choice) potato. Tostados de tinga, huaraches compuestas, quesadillas de huitlacoche, pambazo de papa con chorizo…you might find one or two of these on other menus around town, but for sheer selection it’s hard to beat El Chilaquil. Machitos, a test of culinary courage, consist of internal organs wrapped in parchment-like intestine and grilled. We could use a little more seasoning to get past the organ barrier, but otherwise, we’ll take it. The barbacoa some might find equally challenging (it’s classically made from the pit-cooked head of a cow or other critter) is almost subtle here; try some under the Aztec calendar rendered in wood and consider yourself de-gringofied.

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