After awhile, you come to expect the same from every cookie-cutter Mexican restaurant on the Northwest Side
: a staff on deck preferring a Spanish tongue; menus with plates of food pictured onto office-supply paper; walls bleeding with obnoxiously bright colors. Sabroso Grill in Irving Park does all of the above, but differs with an attention to product and multi-racial populations as their catering commitment confirms.
"We understand that not everyone eats alike," the commitment reads. It carries on, covering topics like dolphin-safe tuna, ingredients free of MSG, fair-trade coffees and cheeses free of rennet. Not bad from just another neighborhood in-and-out spot with a party room.
Visiting on a sorrowfully slow Saturday morning, you'll yearn for valuable street-side dining the restaurant chose instead as a makeshift stage for the occasional live acts. The flat screen, tuned to an awful movie in Spanish, didnít help my longing for stimuli. The staff seemed non-existent, laying tablecloths in back for a party perhaps later. Spicy salsa beats and local artwork hung on papaya- and avocado-shaded walls distracted a tad.
After losing myself in thoughts of all the celebrations that occurred in such a colorful little room, my plate of carne asada arrived dressed with scoops of Mexican rice, a simple salad, roasted jalapeno and a yummy blend of guacamole and pico de gallo ($10.99). Tortillas, blanketed within a wicker case painted with a display of humble indigenous life, added charm. Other plates include the signature Sabroso pan-fried tilapia in mango sauce, staple Mexican options (tacos, tostadas, burritos, etc.) and select breakfast fares.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez