But now, save for a cooler full of Mexican Coke and Jarritos and a couple of racks of spices, the market concept has been abandoned. The name has changed, too: to El Gallo Giro. But good food is still on the menu, even if it's served in a spartan setting.
Unlike El Paraiso, this space is sparsely decorated, with cracked linoleum floors and bare walls. El Gallo Giro does mostly carry-out now; the frill-free ambience isn't exactly conducive to lingering over a meal. But at lunch, groups of friends still gather around the remaining tables, speaking to each other in a mix of Spanish and English while they put down many of the same dishes served at El Paraiso: green chile-smothered fish burritos and enchiladas, chiles rellenos and tortas, Mexican sandwiches made with slow-roasted beef or tongue, other seafood dishes. The eatery also offers tamales by the dozen and carnitas by the pound.
I come here for the molcajetes, though. There are just two offered: the molcajete a la Mexicana, with spicy chorizo, a breast of spice-rubbed chicken, and smoky pork chops and strips of beef; and the Cielo, Mar y Tierra, with roasted beef, chicken and fat shrimp. The presentation is simple, without pretense, and the dishes themselves almost -- but not quite -- as good as at El Paraiso. But when I'm craving authentic Mexican dishes without a side of chaos, el Gallo Giro is a welcome respite.