El Gallo Giro 

On the plate of Reviewer No. 2

Though Kuna has become a sprawling suburban town in recent years, it's still easy to find El Gallo Giro. Just follow Meridian Road south, around the big right bend and onto Main Street, where everyone slows down. El Gallo is the place on the right with the line out the door.

The line is not just hungry Kuna-ites who don't want to drive to Boise. El Gallo Giro is a destination, serving some of the best Mexican food in Southwest Idaho. My first visit there--during lunch a few years ago--I walked in and noticed two things: a full bar stocked with dozens of tequilas and a woman sitting on a stool at the taco bar pressing and cooking handmade tortillas as people passed through the line.

On a recent Saturday night, we had to wait out on the sidewalk for about 20 minutes before a table in one of the two large dining rooms opened. It was a perfectly warm spring evening and we watched the big pickups stopping for pedestrians, drivers flashing the old two-finger wave that has been all but forgotten in the rest of the Treasure Valley.

On the inside, dozens of servers and bussers and bartenders scurried about carrying oversized margaritas and steaming molcajetes of shrimp and tongue. We ordered an ice cold Tecate ($3.95), the margarita special (two shots of Milagros, not from mix, $9.95) and the guacamole ($6). Everyone gets the guacamole because they bring a cart to your table and make it in front of you (for tips). You can customize the jalapeno factor and it's served in an awesomely heavy stone molcajete, the mortar part of mortar and pestle in which some of the best looking dishes at Gallo are served. Our guacamole was a bit oversalted, but as with the salty rim of the big glass, the chilly margarita, which popped with fresh lime and wafted the scent of clear, distilled agave, salved all salty wounds.

The mole at Gallo is not bitter at all and conveys many of the flavors that a good mole should--you can taste the chocolate. Our waiter said the cooks take a mole base and enhance it with their own spices, thus it's not as good as his mom's. The pollo en mole ($9.95) comes with a generous helping of chicken and tastes even better rolled up in a piping hot corn tortilla.

The filete de pescado ($10.95) is served with a powerful dollop of roasted red chile salsa that brings huge flavor to the rubbed tilapia. The salsa is even better smeared on the fresh tortillas with chunks of fish, Spanish rice and beans.

El Gallo does not have to, but they still offer $1 tacos. The cabrito--barbecued goat meat that looks like pulled pork, comes overstuffed in a tiny double-walled taco and tastes like the cobblestone streets of Michoacan--sent me over the top. No desert necessary.

--Nathaniel Hoffman wants to know if the Cowgirls drunk bus stops for tacos.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about El Gallo Giro.
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