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Vato is more of a bar/lounge than dining establishment; the decorative theme is that of a Tijuana dive re-imagined as a backdrop for a music video. The concise menu comprises "primero" offerings (two soups, grilled cheese "chicharron," chipotle cheese dip, and nachos) and a "segundo" section of tacos, flautas, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos. Diners begin with a basket of thin, crisp tortilla chips and three dips: tomatillo, red chili, and chipotle aioli. Great start, and one that pairs well with a half-dozen Mexican beers ($6),a couple dozen premium tequilas, and five margaritas ($10 to $15), including a potent, well-balanced "classic." Best bet are tacos -- small, soft tortillas (choice of flour or corn) folded around grilled steak or chicken, fresh chunks of mahi-mahi, and/or moist morsels of pulled pork (carnitas). Diced onion, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges are served alongside, which is the way it ought to be.
The background noise of small talk from athletes finishing the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run was interrupted by the roaring sound of motors as a group of about 15 bikers swarmed El Vato into Mary Bric... More »
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