Soul food

6438 Elvas Ave. 456-5962

Until a few months ago, this odd location—at that funky corner where 65th Street curves around to meet Elvas Avenue—was home to Mexico 70 (which recently moved a block away to the Folsom Boulevard site that once housed Sambo’s). On the days we couldn’t stomach our low-fat, low-flavor health-conscious diet, my husband and I used to slip in there late at night for the forbidden fruit of Mexico 70’s carnitas. But something happened when Mexico 70 moved; the food is less tasty, and the service is now virtually self-serve. But we did a happy dance when El Gallo moved into the building on Elvas. The place is all swinging ‘70s, with wrought iron and the like, but the fake roosters placed here and there (Gallo means rooster) keep you on your toes. Happily, the food is outstanding and interesting as well. You can get your chimichanga, taco, burrito or enchilada fix, or you can break your fast, Mexican-style, with machaca con huevos (eggs with shredded beef), huevos rancheros or a classic Mexican omelet. But my husband and I go there for our new favorite, the Gallo special, a huge platter that combines beef fajitas, half a mesquite-roasted chicken, carnitas, various condiments and a sinfully delicious item called queso fundido, which is a little like a fondue. The special runs $20.95 for two (it’s easily enough food for three or four) or $32.95 for four. We’re not talking "health food" at El Gallo; it’s food for the soul.