For the past month I've eaten at the Brehon Pub, Baba Palace and Club Lago virtually every time I did not bring my lunch to work. Today I decided to break out of that rut and try Resturante El Norte, at 114 W. Chicago.
It's a bright,cheerfully decorated little restarant that offers table service, as well as carry out and delivary. My guess is that it is family run, and the service, while a bit confused, is friendly and quick. I had a torta milenesa, which I enjoyed. Perhaps not the greatest example of that dish in the city- I thought the steak could have been a little thicker, and the bolillo was not the best I've had, but the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. All in all, a quick, tasty Mexican lunch in a high-rent neighborhood. And cheap--the sandwich, a Jarritos, and chips and salsa (green and red, the green having a nice degree of heat) were just over $5.00
The rest of the also menu looks intriguing--tacos, tortas and sopes with lengua, barbacoa, and carnitas, to name a few--as well as main courses (platillos) that include seven different steak preparations, chilaquiles, pork and beef stew, and menudo on weekends.
I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else has tried this place. The name, and the number of grilled meat dishes, lead me to the conclusion that this is a Norteno-style restaurant (please withold sarcastic comments on my grasp of the obvious), a style of Mexican cuisine which, to my understanding, is less common in Chicago (particularly downtown) than other regional styles.