First in a Boulder Weekly review on September 2 and then in a Daily Camera feature on authentic Mexican markets and restaurants on the 15th, I read about a Mexican restaurant on the south end of the Diagonal Plaza mall. It is the 100% Mexicano Restaurante — or is it Restaurante 100% Mexicano? I’m not sure about the name or if it is a tribute to Latin music superstar Pepe Aguilar, but I am sure that it is a pleasant place for good, honest Mexican food, accommodating folks and extremely reasonable prices. It is located across from the Department of Motor Vehicles with entrances both from the mall corridor and from the outside. The mall itself is tired, but the restaurant is cheerful with bright walls and zippy Mexican music. Since Papusa’s Sabor Hispano moved across Broadway and upgraded its style, we’ve been looking for an authentic Latin American hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and thanks to the local papers, we found it.
It’s a fast-casual eatery, authentic Mexican style. The menu board underscores the authenticity with the likes of chopped lengua (tongue) tacos, chicharron (pork skin) and menudo (tripe stew) on weekends, though most items pass muster with squeamish gringos. By Boulder standards, the menu is meat-heavy, but of course, there are poultry, seafood and a few vegetarian dishes as well.
Children are welcome, and customers’ kids happily mingle with what I think might have been the offspring of someone who works in the restaurant. When we ate there, the children were lively and engaging, but not rambunctious or annoying to grownups unencumbered by their own kids. IMHO, this is an authentic family-friendly restaurant that doesn’t have to rely on plastic trinkets, paper menus to color or other contrived commercial distractions.
Order from the counter, pay and your food will be brought to you either inside or on the patio. In the meantime, you can amuse yourself ladling out your selections from the condiment bar. Red and green salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream and whole peppers are there for the taking.
My husband and I selected a mix of old favorites and some Mexican classics — but for us, “hold the tongue!”
Price check: Tacos, $1.75 each or $6.50 for four; tamales, $1.99 each or $15.50 for a dozen; gorditas, $3 each; tortas (sandwiches), $4.75-$6.50; platos (entrees), $7.50-$9.75; quesadillas, $4.25-$6.99; sides, $1.99; kids’ menu, $3.50; beverages, $1.50-$2.50 for small drinks and $2-$3 for large.