San Gabriel Mexican Cafe100% Local
2535 Waukegan Rd
Bannockburn , IL 60015 (view map)
Lunch Mon-Thu 1130a-2p
Dinner Mon-Thu 5p-830p
San Gabriel is an upscale Mexican restaurant, in which the tortillas are made
in-house, the margaritas are made with fresh lime juice and the guacamole is prepared before your eyes. A server rolls a wooden cart to the table and mashes up some fresh guacamole in a jiffy, pausing only to inquire about
Elsewhere on the appetizer list, a fruity guajillo salsa dresses up pieces of grilled
octopus; Tuna ceviche, brightened by bits of mango and passionfruit, tricolor chilies and mint, is smooth and delicious, with a bit of spice to the finish. Milder, but still satisfying are roasted duck taquitos, rolled in soft tortillas with grilled pineapple and queso fresco. Pasilla peppers and toasted tomatoes lend depth and body to a smooth, bisque-like tortilla soup, topped with a mound of cheese, avocado and a dollop of cream.
Entrees include a well done red snapper en Veracruzana; red snapper stands up
well to the tomato, onion and pepper sauce that engulfs it. Tropical Bites, a
melange of grilled shrimp, scallops and calamari surrounding a papaya-mango
salad, is essentially an entree salad, good for light appetites.
Huitlacoche, the earthy and sweet fungus that grows on corn, is the star ingredient in a rolled chicken breast that's dressed with a tangy poblano-chile sauce. And a delicious pork chop is bathed in manchamanteles, a sweet-sour mole that combines ancho chile with pineapples, pears and apples.
The star entree is dubbed molcajete, the dish named for the vessel that contains it. A molcajete is a large bowl carved from volcanic rock; the Chef uses it as a stewpot, cooking steak, chicken or shrimp in a bubbly mix of tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers and three-chile salsa. It's really a very simple dish with a lot of visual flair; the mad-hot molcajete is virtually a volcano by itself, actually spitting out droplets of broth.
Desserts include a fine tres leches (three milks) cake and a chocolate tamal,
A flamed bananas dish--a sort of Mexican bananas Foster.