Anderson’s Word: The Northern Stars Food Critic

By Lauren Anderson

Taxco Restaurant — Mexican

223 W. State St., Sycamore


$$ ***

It was about 8 p.m. on a Thursday and we were driving around Sycamore when suddenly our eyes were caught by a large yellow canopy with “Taxco” written large like a banner. A bit hungry, we stopped in.

We were promptly greeted and had a choice between a booth or a table.

Our server welcomed us with a smile and was very pleasant; he even tried conversing with us in Spanish.

As we looked over the menu, snacked on some chips — watch out, the salsa is hot — we couldn’t decide what to order. Finally, we opted for four dishes: the waiter’s suggestion, Pollo al Cilantro, and three other dishes: chimichangas, burritos and a Burro Verde.

When we were finished ordering, we saw a woman come by with a cart of fresh avocado, tomatoes and other various ingredients to make guacamole. It was quite entertaining to watch her put all the ingredients into the bowl and mix it together. We happily began to dig into the freshest guacamole I may have ever had! It was a little small for four, but definitely an unexpected, wonderful treat.

Just as we finished off our guacamole, our entrées came out. Muy rapido, by the way.

First I tried the Burros Verdes. I liked this dish because it had spice, but it was still mild enough to handle over many bites. The “Verde” in the entrée stands for the “green” sauce on top of the burrito, which gave it the spice and unique flavor. Inside the burrito (burro) were refried beans, lettuce and tomato and a little cheese, sour cream style.

Then I tried our waiter’s favorite, Pollo al Cilantro, which turned out to be another pleasant surprise. Something to consider: If you’re looking for lunch but don’t have much cash, many of the dishes are large enough to split with another person.

The chimichangas were next with a small side of beans in a corn tortilla bowl with a side of fresh greens for topping. The burritos also came with the same sides.

While we were eating, a group of Mariachi singers came along, asking us what we wanted them to sing and play. We weren’t sure, so they chose a good song for us. It was quite pleasant listening to them play while we ate, and when they were done they were happy to sing another! Unlike some restaurants, these musicians were truly talented, and the lead singer’s croon was a wonderful complement to what turned out to be an all-around pleasant dinner.

A bit full, but curious about the deserts, we decided to order two deserts for the four of us. We chose Los Churros con chocolate y whipped cream and helado frito (fried ice cream) con honey and vanilla ice cream. As expected, both were good.

I really enjoyed my time at Taxco. It was a fun environment with honest, but not overdone, Mexican fiesta flair. The service was solid, the people friendly and the comfortable, casual atmosphere leaned well to conservation.

The most important part: the food looked, smelled and tasted wonderful — not your everyday “Taco Bell,” but authentic Mexican classics.

Of Note: They use 100 percent vegetable oil, and if you are vegetarian, be sure to ask for their vegetarian menu.