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Mara's Grill Ventures South of Mexico to Guatamala

Aug. 15, 2017
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Mara’s Grill (3441 N. 84th St.) would as well be named Mara’s Kitchen, so quaint and cozy is the 10-seat eatery decorated with bric-a-brac from the proprietors’ Guatemalan homeland.

The four Guatemalan entrées listed on a menu (that also lists tacos and other Mexican specialties) are similar to the cuisine of the larger, more populous country it borders.

Most distinctive among them is chicken pipian, whose roasted tomatoes, peppers and onions give this variation on mole a softly reddish hue and underlying spicy heat that complements the tender, well-marinated meat. The dish is served with rice, refried beans, and tortillas. Mara’s Guatemalan variation of chili rellenos, featuring a chipotle sauce between roasted poblano pepper and its fried egg batter coating (with additional options of chicken or spinach) beckons for a return visit, too.

Mara’s dessert of apple dumplings, resembling miniature chimichangas served with vanilla ice cream, is a sweet ending that takes the edge off the subdued heat of the Central American gastronomical delights.

A recent midday visit occasioned mostly take-out traffic, but the friendly couple operating Mara’s may do well to find a roomier space to accommodate more customers who would like to sit down for their fare.

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