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Originally published Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 7:01 PM

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Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria: Excellent tacos and more in Southeast Seattle

Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria in Southeast Seattle offers excellent tacos and other dishes bursting with flavor.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria

Mexican

5418 Martin Luther King Jr. S., Seattle; 206-568-3019

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays.

Etc: Visa and MasterCard; limited parking in lot; no obstacles to access; beer and limited alcohol.

Prices: $$

No offense to taco trucks, but sometimes a picnic table under a makeshift tent does not cut it. Sometimes dinner demands a table and chairs, a server and a big ol' margarita.

Huarachitos Mexican Taqueria in Southeast Seattle does a lovely job combining both, elevating taco-truck-worthy eats in a cozy, vibrant restaurant.

A meal at Huarachitos on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South starts with a huge, communal jar of pickled jalapeños and carrots to munch on as you mull over a lengthy menu. It is tempting to stick with the excellent tacos, but try to broaden your horizons for a kitchen that ushers out dishes bursting with flavor.

The menu: The menu boasts plenty of tacos priced at $1.75, ranging from al pastor (pork) to beef tongue. Dishes include huge corn-based huaraches ($9.95) topped with green or red sauce, lettuce and your choice of meat; and a variety of shrimp dishes.

The restaurant also serves beer and margaritas, which come small (16 ounces, $7.50) or Cancun-style large (20 ounces, $9.50). Horchata ($2.50) is creamy, sweet and delicious.

What to write home about: Try the simple, divine al pastor taco, but save room for the enmoladas de pollo ($11.99), which will haunt your mole-hued dreams. Tender chicken is layered in tortillas with cheese and topped with a dark, intensely flavored mole that emits coffee and chocolate notes while balancing a perfect hit of spiciness.

The shrimp de crema ($13.99) also had a lovely, light sauce, and the shrimp — tossed with onions and peppers — were large, firm and juicy. Warm, thick tortillas were served on the side.

What to skip: We could not resist the "We have flan!" chalkboard sign. Topped with whipped cream, the flan ($3.75) at first was smooth and custardy, but the bottom part was firmer and ruined the texture.

The setting: An open kitchen greets diners and colorful frames hang in every window. Lamps on every table emit a warm glow. Service is no-frills and fairly prompt.

Summing up: Huarachitos costs more than a taco truck, but for good reason. A dinner for two, with dessert and nonalcoholic drinks, added up to about $45 with tip, but you will be rewarded with an authentic, delicious meal.

Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or ntsong@seattletimes.com

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