Best Mexican Restaurant

Senor Moose

For the vast majority of Americans, "Mexican food" means a bowl of tortilla chips with salsa, some sort of meat wrapped in a cheese-slathered tortilla, and a soggy serving of refried beans and yellow rice. At first blush, a restaurant with a goofy, gringo-friendly name like Senor Moose might seem to offer this sort of insipid faux-Mex fare. In truth, though, the colorful and cozy Ballard restaurant specializes in authentic comida tipica, traditional dishes from south of the border. The vast menu comprises representative cuisine from various Mexican states, and while standards like enchiladas, tostadas, and tacos are included, they are rendered unique with a delectable variety of mole sauces and distinctive fillings. Moose works magic with pork, serving everything from a picante blood-red chorizo to moist hunks of pig meat braised in chiles and pineapple juice. And, just like any Mexican joint worth its margarita salt, the bar stocks a stellar selection of tequila and mezcal. KEEGAN HAMILTON 5242 Leary Ave. N.W., 784-5568,

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