From the daughter of the man who took El Paisa from cart to chain comes Soleo Mexican Kitchen -- so named because "Soleo means sun, which is needed to grow agave" (if only the moms of girls named Kandi had such sensible explanations). With a patio looking out on Hillcrest & NW Highway, tables custom-made in Guadalajara, and hand-blown margarita glasses, the spot boasts a menu modern enough for all palates, yet traditional enough that "if someone from Mexico comes in, they'll be at home".
That means kicking things off with the likes of shrimp-stuffed jicama tacos and fresh-baked bolillo bread tortas slathered in crema Mexicana and served with deep-fried cactus. Move on to heartier numbers like a chicken mole poblano made with more than 20 ingredients, a deep-fried chicken & cheese poblano in tomato-based sauce, and weekends-only Jalisco-style pozole, based on pork and hominy that's undergone nixtamalization, a venerated Central American process that enhances maize's taste, releases B3 vitamins, and is the next word in this spelling bee.
For dessert, they're doing pineapple tamales and tacos filled with ice cream and strawberries. The hooch is legit, starting with tequila numbers like the Sofrito-rita (w/ muddled red bell peppers & cilantro), then stretching out to inventions such as the habanero-sugar-rimmed, Scotch/muddled jalapeno/cran El Diablo, or, the guy who made you name your daughter Kandi.