Pancho Y Emiliano on King
Pancho Y Emiliano is a nighttime spot for high-end Mexican food and boozy margaritas.
Sitting in the heart of the Entertainment District, this iteration of Pancho is making its mark as one of the first few businesses to move on to King Street's beleaguered restaurant row, post-King Street Pilot.
Unlike the original Pancho in Kensington, this location focuses less on homey eats like quesadillas and tamales, and more on hefty dinner dishes.
Spacious with tall ceilings, the restaurant trends toward sparse, but makes up for it with some very cool custom artwork by an artist named Miguel Romero.
The most notable piece is an epic six-foot-tall picture of the restaurant's namesakes, Francisco "Pancho" Villa and Emiliano Zapata, two leading figures in the Mexican Revolution. According to the restaurant, it's a licensed original.
Meanwhile in the back, corn tortillas are being ground, pressed and fried fresh every day.
They're used to making nine different types of tacos offered here, like the delicious carne asada taco ($9.50) served with black pepper marinated grilled beefsteak and grilled cactus.
The carnitas taco ($8) is another tasty one, served with braised pork, avocado, onion and cilantro.
Guacamole ($14) is definitely more than an add-on to your burrito. This essential order uses fresh mashed avocados with jalapenos and pico de gallo as a dip for addictive corn chips.
The enmoladas verdes ($21) is a trio of tortillas drenched in mole verde sauce, made from tomatillo, chillis, and green herbs. Inside: juicy pulled chicken.
Somewhat similar in presentation, but totally different in taste, are the delicious enmoladas, which are also filled with pulled chicken but served with in-house Mexican mole sauce made with chillies, nuts, and chocolate.
The Dobladitas Mineras ($14) are a duo of fried tortillas made with a chilli ancho sauce and filled with potato, if you're looking for a meat-free meal.
The camarones a la diabla ($22) is one of my favourites. Served with a side of corn truffle rice, these sautéed shrimps have a lot of kick, thanks to a generous amount of spicy red chilli pepper sauce.
As far as Mexican desserts go, churros ($11) are a staple. You'll get four decorative, doughy sticks here, beautifully presented with dulce de leche.
The De La Casa margarita ($12) is a standard here, though there's five other types of margarita to try, including the hibiscus-flavoured Rosa ($14). If you're a Mezcal fan, there's a mystical purple drink called the Paper Moon ($16) that uses Dillon's absinthe and lavender syrup.
Fusing nightlife (they're opening a lounge upstairs called Salon Mitote) and legitimately delicious Mexican eats, Pancho's second location is an evening destination befitting of the Entertainment District.