|Spiderman goes to El Quetzal|
Apr 12th, 2006
I get very excited when a new restaurant opens up in Beacon Hill, as there are so few. The gentrification of the area continues apace, and the trendy restaurants are creaping ever closer (the opening of MioPosto down the hill in Mt. Baker being the most recent example), but the North Beacon Hill area remains home to only a few, invariable family-owned restaurants.
So when we drove by and saw that a new Mexican restaurant had moved in to the space formerly housing a Pho and noodle shop, we had to circle back and grab a menu. The menu, while small, looked promising. Far from the traditional burritos and chimichangas, El Quetzal serves tortas, huaraches, and the little tacos that come with a small corn tortilla wrapped around your choice of highly seasoned meat. We found ourselves at loose ends the next afternoon, and decided to put on our shoes and go try the place out. Ian was wearing a dashing outfit comprised of a full body Spiderman costume, a red plastic mask, and bright red Spiderman gloves that engulfed his entire arms. We decided to just throw a sweatshirt on him and go, and we made quite a site promenading through the neighborhood with Ian shooting invisible webs at passing cars and loudly proclaiming 'I Spiderman!'. At one point he attracted a train of curious little girls who I believe were pretending to be spies. May I be the latest in a long line of parents to declare that children are completely, certifiably, insane.
We made it to the restaurant without further incident and were greeted by the incredibly warm and friendly owners and their four year old boy who was initially frightened of our masked superhero but had firmly inserted himself in the middle of the boyhood insanity by the end of the outing. The warm chips we were given to munch on were served with a cactus salsa, the Nopal sauce referred to on the business card above. I opted to continue the cactus theme and ordered a giant huarache topped with refried beans, cactus, crema, and white cheese. A huarache is a masa cake fried in the shape of a sandal, thus the name. Different toppings are available, all the others meat based. It was really good, although I don't think I'll order the cactus version again - it was interesting, but next time I'll go with the meat.
Jim got a few little pork tacos and some rice and beans on the side. Don't be afraid to ask for items that might not appear on the menu - rice and beans were easily added to our order, along with two kid plates of tiny quesadillas, again made with masa and a lovely melting white cheese. These came with rice and beans as well. None of these were on the menu. The chef also offers posole and menudo on the weekends, although the last of the posole was just being happily consumed when we got there this time, so I didn't get to try it.
The restaurant is very small and informal. The owner was quite happy to sit down with us and chat, and his little boy ran back and forth between his sleeping sister in the kitchen and our little hooligans in the dining area. Luckily we were the only ones there as they were about ready to close. They've been open since March and are planning on adding new dishes to the menu soon, including a chicken quesadilla made with a masa tortilla and chipotle sauce. If you like authentic Mexican food and are in the area, stop by and check out El Quetzal. They close at 4:00 on Sundays but are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Saturday.
3209 Beacon Ave S.
Seattle WA 98144
Mon - Sat: 8am to 9pm
Sun: 8am to 4 pm