Sunday, October 15, 2006

One for the visitors and expats

I visited a fantastic Mexican restaurant on Friday night, and there must have been something special in that 50 spice sauce that provoked me to write a restaurant critique, and possibly make a habit out of it if I ever figure out how to group posts by theme in the sidebar.

Boulevard Solferino in Lille is one of my favourite areas of the city, and has an abnormally high saturation of neon fronted asian restaurants but, nestled in between and Irish and a Scottish bar, is the kitschy mexican decor that screams central American themed restaurant. Truth be told, I didn't expect much from a resturant called Los Tacos (aye carumba), but the extremely pleasant owner immediately made me kick myself for not having known about this place earlier and reserved beforehand. But, despite the late night Friday crowds, he managed to squeeze us into a free spot. Feeling seriously in the mood to try something completely different to the standard fare, (Mexican or otherwise), I ordered one of their more exotic specialities, the chicken molé (as in olé), a chicken and rice dish drizzled with a serious helping of a 50 spice sauce (to whit, I can't even think of 50 spices). The first bite is kind of a maelstrom in the mouth as one's tastebuds try to go about deciphering something out of the mix. Then the taste mellows out as the mouth gives up on the challenge. Every bite is like this. And topped off with a glass of delicious Chilean merlot (I've a palate more partial to new world wines - especially Chilean) it certainly satisfied my gourmet mood.
The margaritas are a decent size and you can actually distinguish the tequila and lemons (after a recent disappointment in a vieux Lille mexican resto whose margaritas were everything that the Los Tacos version is not - except for the price. They didn't even salt the rim, hello?)But, I rarely make it to the dessert course, generally filling up on entréé and main, so no sweets to add to the mix. As we left the owner, once again making us feel especially privileged, followed us to the front door with well wishes and hopes of seeing us again soon. On the whole, restaurant owners are friendly enough - their business after all depends on a general absence of misanthropic tendencies. But this dear chap had something just a little extra in his smile and in his manner that put me very much in the mood to recommend his restaurant to others
Los Tacos
164 rue Solférino, Lille
Meals range from about 11 - 20€
booking ahead on weekend nights is advisable, we were just lucky

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