El Chapo is a casual joint serving elevated tacos, snacks and salads along with organic coffee.
The kitchen is headed up by Chef Angel Rueda (Fonda Lola), who’s originally from Mexico.
The clean space reverberates with ranchera music, decorated with bright colours and murals evoking the streets of Mexico.
A separate coffee pocket area is situated in the corner.
Butter esquites ($3.99) are pretty much my new favourite cheap snack, humble corn kernels bathing in butter and jalapeno topped with cotija cheese and guajillo aioli. Highly recommend the $1.49 bacon upgrade, and don’t sleep on rosemary guac either.
The fish taco ($5.95) sees a hefty filet of cornmeal-battered haddock on top of two grilled corn tortillas topped with a beet vinaigrette, guajillo aioli and yummy carrot and beet crisps.
All tacos have the same double corn tortilla foundation, and everything here is actually gluten-free except churros.
The taco al pastor ($5.25) is stuffed with pork marinated in Mexican spices and pineapple juices and grilled on the flat top.
Though the stems of cilantro were a bit long and unruly, chopped pineapple and onions were perfectly sized.
Barbacoa ($5.95) is beef brisket marinated in Mexican peppers and slow-braised in banana leaves for twelve hours, making the meat tender and aromatic.
Three house hot sauces are available at each table from a dark mild sauce with garlic and onion to a medium smoked chipotle and roast tomato sauce, to the hottest creamy yellow sauce of jalapenos blended with an oil base.
The tinga taco ($5.25) layers chicken braised with tomato and chipotle on top of a thick base of seasoned Mexican beans, finished off with sour cream and crumbly cotija cheese.
The shrimp taco ($5.95) sees a good amount of juicy little shrimp smothered in a creamy roast tomato, chipotle and guajillo sauce, topped with a little mozzarella and a dusting of chili powder.
The veggie taco ($5.25) comes out of left field as a favourite, starring poblanos that have been roasted, steamed, peeled, cut into strips and slow-cooked with the same creamy sauce. Stretchy grilled panela cheese provides a gorgeous base for the smoky, soft, luscious poblano.
Churros ($3.99) are appropriately hard and crunchy with a fluffy, not-too-hollow inside, served with caramel and chocolate sauces on the border between thick and thin,
Baked goods in the coffee pocket area include butter tarts, and slices of carrot, chocolate, or banana nut loaf ($2.95).
Organic, local coffee ReSIProcate actually supports charities, and though it’s nothing too fancy the price is right at $1.95 for a 12-ounce cup of dark roast, medium roast or hazelnut drip.
Individual chairs and long benches pulled up to communal tables provide seating.