Neighborhood Joints

Paquito's Mexican Restaurant: Mediocre Food in a Cute, Kitschy Environment

"This place is more Mexican than Cabo," said a woman who was dining with co-workers at Paquito's Mexican Restaurant during a weekday lunch.

Looking around at the colorful, over-the-top décor, I understood exactly what she meant. It was kitschy and charming, but like Cabo San Lucas, I feared it would fall into the tourist trap category -- trite and not too tasty. I checked in on Foursquare, and friends immediately urged me to head down the street to try the more refined and understated Cheen Huaye.

But my guests and I ignored the naysayers. Instead, we went to town on the complimentary chips and flavorful salsa. Then we began exploring the menu, which is as vast as the sprawling rooms in this enormous restaurant.

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Carina Ost