You can peruse the menu while crunching on free homemade corn tortilla chips served warm with a trio of fiery salsas.
The lunch plates were still on the table when my dining companion, a first-timer to El Paisano, took out his iPhone and geo-marked the restaurant’s location with three words: “Killer Mexican place.”
Which is as good a description as any for this family-owned eatery, a companion to the neighboring butcher shop that has been serving up Mexican classics in White Center for more than a decade.
I’ve eaten here dozens of times, and the meals are reliably delicious, filling and light enough on the wallet to encourage exploration.
Best of all, you can peruse the menu while crunching on free homemade corn tortilla chips served warm with a trio of fiery salsas.
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The menu: Chicken, beef, pork, tongue and even goat, cooked a variety of ways and served in tacos or as entrees with rice, beans and tortillas. The tacos are a great way to sample the menu: $1.50-$2 for the meats, $2.50 for shrimp and fish. Other traditional fare: burritos ($5.99); tortas ($7); enchiladas ($9.99); chicken flautas ($6.99), deep-fried chicken tacos served meal-style with guacamole and sour cream; and chile relleno ($7.99 for lunch, $12.50 for dinner), cheese-stuffed poblano chili dipped in egg batter and lightly fried. Seafood offerings include a whole deep-fried tilapia ($10), and shrimp sauteed with garlic and mushrooms, or smothered in spicy red sauce with bell peppers (each $11.99).
Kids’ meals — bean and cheese or chicken burritos, or a chicken quesadilla — are $3.99.
What to write home about: The pollo rostizado — slow-roasted chicken dusted with smoky spices ($3 for a solo quarter chicken, or $14.99 for a whole chicken dinner). Also try the barbacoa — slow-cooked beef chunks marinated in red chilies and spices ($7.99 for lunch, $11.75 for dinner).
The setting: Friendly service and seating for about 30 in a small, casual-dining area that caters to a working-class clientele.
Summing up: Half-a-chicken entree ($7.95), chile relleno ($7.99), a ceviche tostada ($2.99) and horchata ($2), a sweet rice drink, came to $28, including tax and tip.
Susan Kelleher: 206-464-2508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @susankelleher.