Corona Village 

One of the best testimonies about a place is how busy it is on any given evening. On the night I loaded the family up and packed them in to Corona Village on State Street, the first thing I noticed when we went in was how busy it was. It wasn't packed, but it was comfortably full, and the staff on duty had no time to be bored.

For some reason, many of the Mexican restaurants I've been to in the Treasure Valley have been somewhat dimly lit, but the Village (which also has locations in Meridian and Laramie, Wyoming, if you want to go that far) isn't one of those; the joint is, to steal a phrase from Papa Hemingway, a clean, well-lit place (if you know the story, rest assured the parallels end there). The initial effect is disconcerting, but I adjusted within minutes and it didn't seem to bother anyone else. We were quickly seated and provided with a bowl of fresh chips and saucers of salsa—just hot enough to qualify, not too spicy to run off the average customer—and bean dip. We had to wait a bit longer than normal for our drink and dinner orders to be taken, but the wait staff was friendly and got to us without the kids getting too restless. The menu is neither large nor complicated, but it did have enough options to satisfy my brood, and they were able to quickly pick out what they wanted.

After one refill of chips and dips (who doesn't love tortilla chips?), our dinners arrived. My son, who is something of a picky eater, had no trouble plowing through his quesadilla (like all items on Corona Village's kids' menu, $2.95) in record time. My daughter went with the beef taco, and other than a complaint about how to pick it up (it was a bit large for her hands), she enjoyed it. The adults stuck to the burrito menu; I tried the Ponza burrito ($8.25), which was something of a mixed bag. On one hand, the burrito was perfectly sized (filling without having to resort to a take-home box) and well-prepared, topped with a tangy mix of sauces and cheese. On the other hand, the meat inside had the consistency and something of the flavor of Chef Boyardee ravioli filling, which I found off-putting. However, my better half had no such complaints with the fajita burrito ($9.50), jammed full of steak strips and other good eatin'.

When all the napkins were still, my family and I were pleasantly full, and isn't that what you look for in a family restaurant? Corona Village provided a decent meal for a fairly good price, and for folks who like to go out for a family meal every now and then, it's a good place to stop.

—Brandon Nolta talks like a pirate every day.

4334 W. State St., 338-9707; 21 E. Fairview Ave., 887-9348; Sun.-Thu.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

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