Three homegrown Mexican chains get new siblings

After spending the past week biting off more than I could chew at a bunch of new restaurants with "sustainable," "organic" and "seasonal" jargon littering their menus, I was ready for my Mexican food fix.

I get a yearning at least once a week, and if it's not fulfilled, I turn into a complete bitch. So I stopped at the newest outpost of Los Carboncitos, a decision I wasn't all that sure about, considering it had just gone noon and there wasn't a soul in the joint save for one cook, a server, a guy who appeared to be the owner and one straggler who'd popped in to pick up a take-out order.

This third location of Los Carboncitos opened last month at 15210 East Sixth Avenue in Aurora, in a small, stripped-down mall with zero curb appeal. But unlike its neighbor (the small sign next door simply says "Intervention"), Los Carboncitos is all about advertising: Its windows are painted with goofy orange and yellow flames and blood red lettering announcing its name, and two neon "open" signs let you know there's a crew inside who wouldn't mind seeing a few butts in the glossy wooden chairs that line the space like dominoes.

The menu doesn't detour from that at the other two locations (720 Sheridan Boulevard and 3757 Pecos Street), and while the frijoles charros were too soupy, the alambres and huaraches were just as good, if not better, than those at their seasoned siblings. Those siblings don't serve chips or cerveza, but here, ribbons of fried corn tortillas arrive in a red basket with a caddy of terrific salsas, and the beer list includes several Mexican labels, all of which come with a heap of lime wedges and a frosted glass rimmed with salt.

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