Mr. Villa has el norte — of Seattle — covered
Special to The Seattle Times
8064 Lake City Way N.E., Seattle;
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays.
Drinks: Beer, wine, margaritas.
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard.
Accessibility: No obstacles.
Most restaurants are quiet on Monday nights, but not Mr. Villa.
Live music bounces off the pomegranate-red and banana-yellow walls of this two-year-old Mexican restaurant named for the charismatic 20th-century revolutionary leader. (His friends called him Pancho).
One recent Monday a trio played accordion, guitar and bass, and the small storefront eatery was packed tighter than an enchilada casserole. When the group slipped the occasional polka in between the cha-chas and the tangos, you could have mistaken Mr. Villa for a VFW hall on a Saturday night.
Give this toe-tapping clientele a little more room, and they might start dancing in the aisles, which probably wouldn't faze the friendly, capable staff in the least.
The food is as exuberant as the music, especially the searing red and green salsas that come gratis with a matching basket of warm tortilla chips. The sign outside boasts homemade tortillas and these pliable rounds certainly taste fresh. The guacamole does, too. (Look for jalapeño lurking among the chunks of avocado.)
The lunch menu reads like a Mexican hit parade: tostadas, sopes, tacos, enchiladas, tamales, chimichangas, burritos, huevos rancheros and chiles relleno.
Everything is $6.25 and includes rice and beans.
At dinner the selection expands to include "Cesar" salad ($5.25), chile verde ($10.25), carne asada ($11.50) and camarones (shrimp) cooked various ways ($12.25). Menudo and posole are weekend specialties.
But I'm sticking to Monday night. There aren't many places where you can get dinner and a show at these prices.
Providence Cicero: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tostada de ceviche: Bits of fresh halibut mix it up with finely chopped cilantro, onion and carrot in a zesty lime-juice bath. Crunchy, tart and a little tingly, the ceviche is served on a brittle 6-inch tostada and topped with slices of ripe avocado. At this price order two, and you won't have to share.
Mole poblano: The chicken is dry but the mole sauce makes up for that. Its taste teeters between bitter and sweet with just enough heat to make it interesting. Served with fresh pico de gallo, fluffy Spanish rice and refried beans that are not the regurgitated-looking mush you so often get elsewhere. Choose flour or corn tortillas — or some of each.
Chile verde: One bite of this fiery pork stew had me hiccupping and chugging my orange jarritos to put out the fire in my belly. But my companion happily downed it all, filling several warm tortillas with tender chunks of pork and peppers swathed in hot, hot, hot tomatillo sauce. Served with rice and beans.
Itemized bill, meal for two
Tostada de ceviche $3.50
Mole poblano $10.25
Chile verde $10.25
Jarritos (soda) $2.50
Glass of sangria $5.50
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company