El Potosino offers friendly service and delicious food

click to enlarge El Potosino offers friendly service and delicious food
Son of owner, Oscar Zapata with Guisada de Puerco Verde con nopales, left, and Enchiladas Potosinas, at El Potosino restaurant, 2500 S. Robinson Avenue. mh

What makes you uncomfortable?

There are several excellent reasons to be uncomfortable. Sitting too long in one position. Watching a violent, profanity-laced movie with your religious grandmother. Passing a kidney stone.

Discomfort is one of the ways we talk ourselves out of leaving our bubble. And trying something new, I’m sad to say, is not a guarantee of some great reward.

You will never like everything new you try. But you’ll never find anything new you like if you don’t.

I like El Potosino, 2500 S. Robinson Ave.

As a very white, beardy man with a tenuous grasp of elementary Spanish, it would be easy for me to talk myself out of going to El Potosino — the hand-lettered sign, the address, the menu without a lick of English on it.

But it took only a couple of steps in the door for the cashier to greet me with a smile, the same one he gives to everyone who comes inside.

When I had a seat, he brought over the menu and offered to help me with any translations or descriptions I needed.

Though I do not speak Spanish, I do read menu.

And it was easy to see why friends told me to give El Potosino a try.

Tacos are $2 each and come in a variety of meaty and non-meaty varieties. The barbacoa taco is full of tender, flavorful beef that melts against the tongue. Served with the usual cilantro and diced onion, it’s a simple and simply delicious dish.

Burritos are, in some ways, like bigger versions of tacos, but more foldy. I got the picadillo burrito con arroz y frijoles ($6). Picadillo is ground beef simmered in a seasoned broth until it achieves a wonderful, almost creamy consistency.

The arroz (rice) y (and) frijoles (beans) were appetizing. But the burrito was excellent.

The guisada de puerco verde con nopales ($9) is like a green chile pork stew cooked with succulent cactus. The flavor is fresh, though the pork was a little bit chewy. Nopales has a flavor that is hard to classify, almost like a bell pepper mixed with a green bean.

If you’d like a giant, thin, tasty piece of beef, you’ll like enchiladas potosinas ($10).

Four little cheese and tomato sauce enchiladas are covered with a square foot of beef that has been marinated, seasoned and grilled. It’s not the best steak you’ll ever have, but it’s pretty good.

The dish the owner recommended was the enchiladas verde ($9). They come in cheese, chicken or mixed, and I would point you toward the tasty, gooey-textured cheese.

The green sauce on top is mild in heat and subtle in taste, but I had no trouble plowing through a plate of them.

The entire dish has the novel combination of a light and fresh flavor with a satisfying heft in the stomach.

The tortillas are fresh, and I’d probably buy a dozen just to sit there, spreading butter on them and eating them like a true fat kid. The hot sauce is, as advertised, nice and spicy. The salsa is light and summery.

If you’re at all nervous about heading down to the south side for Mexican food, I don’t know what to tell you, except that I encountered nothing but a welcoming staff and a very happy feeling caused by good cooking. I bet you will find the same if you go.



Print headline: Do south, El Potosino is a welcoming, tasty presence housed just a hard-left turn from downtown.