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One Great Dish: El Solazo's 'Paradilla El Solazo'

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 18, 2013 7:20PM

Photo credit: Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist

There’s no shortage of solid taquerias to grab a bite along South Pulaski. From forgettable storefront mom-and pop shops to the transcendent Birrieria Zaragoza, if you’re looking for a quick meal that can be forced into a tortilla—corn preferred—you can find it.

Three things make El Solazo stand out above the other taco joints in West Lawn. First, its d├ęcor falls somewhere between the beachcomber cartoonishness of your local Las Islas Marias and the rustic charms of Antique Taco. It’s contemporary and bright inside with a jukebox soundtrack that leans more toward B96 than ranchero music.

Second is this monstrosity. The “Paradilla El Solazo” (the one pictured purports to feed only two people) contains enough meat to feed a small army. There’s steak, chicken, chorizo, pork and shrimp. Under all that are cebollitas, tomatoes, peppers, onions and other vegetables marinating in a Lazarus Pit of juices. What’s not on this grill? The kitchen sink; a shovel; a prediction for your cholesterol level after you tackle this.

We had low expectations for the Paradilla El Solazo, which may inform how much we loved this dish as much as the sheer volume of food we ordered for $33. (We left with leftovers for three people.) The meats were all perfectly cooked and could be sliced through with a fork with only minimum resistance.

The third thing that makes El Solazo stand out is its hours of operation. We haven’t passed by the place when it hasn’t been busy. The breakfast and lunch crowds seem to carry right over into dinner and late night revelry. If you happen to find yourself in West Lawn looking for something to lessen the hair of the dog, You’ll do well to order this. It could be the difference between being clear-headed and getting an unfortunate tattoo at Sick Life Tattoo three blocks north.

El Solazo is located at 5600 S. Pulaski.