***Update: business closed***

Once you get over the fact that you’re paying a premium for Mexican food, you might discover that some of the dishes are quite good. The stigma of upscale Mexican can be tough to overcome, but they do a good job of producing solid dishes at this new Chicago-chain import that took over the space formerly occupied by LBS at Red Rock.

The portion size of a single order of gaucamole may be small, but the Tocino ($8.50) guac packed plenty of smokiness in this non-traditional version with bacon, corn, and habanero along with a textural contrast from the crispy hominy.

The service was friendly, but the biggest drawback was having everything we ordered served at once. As soon as they brought out the guacamole they also served us our sides. Sweetness with hints of heat laced the platanos machos ($4.50) with its accompanying ginger-jalapeno sauce. The excellent depth of flavor of the elote Mexicano ($4.50) did the street food justice, but the price for one ear of corn cut in half will turn off many.

Our small table was almost overflowing with plates and glassware, but still managed to cram the costillas de res ($19.50) into the mix. The build-your-own-taco entree consisted of a cast iron dish with tender, yet somewhat fatty, red wine-braised short ribs and a chipotle reduction cauliflower-turnip casserole, which were a touch bitter and undercooked for my tastes. A separate dish with tortillas, onions and cilantro was provided. It was a nice change of pace from typical Mexican fare but I’m not sure I’d order it again.

The restaurant is kid friendly and provides a separate kid’s menu. An order of the kid’s carne asada ($7) came with a sizeable portion of sliced beef with flavors mild enough for young, developing palates.

If you come here, prepare for a loud environment where you’ll barely be able to hear the person sitting across from you. If you can deal with that and service that has no clue how to pace your meal you might enjoy the place.

3.5 Stars

Red Rock Casino
11011 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89135

Mercadito on Urbanspoon

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