Alejandro's in Round Lake prides itself on filling Mexican specialties, friendly service
For a quiet, casual meal, head to Alejandro's Mexican Restaurant in Round Lake. Plan in advance as the restaurant gets more popular though: There are only eight tables with table service, plus a quick takeout counter. The interior is super-casual and colorful, with what appears to be a Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera theme. Rivera paintings line the walls, and Frida's face graces bright flags hanging from the ceiling. I think the two would be proud of the design and the various elements throwing back to old Mexico throughout the restaurant.
Don't, however, let the casual nature of the restaurant fool you into thinking the food isn't good. The menu has Mexican breakfast specialties, tacos, burritos, soups, salads and the typical meals you'd find at other places. Horchata and Jarritos are on the drinks menu, though there isn't any alcohol served. Table service was top-notch as well; the staff is extra-friendly and very proud of their food, and will always come to your table with a smile.
We went for a late lunch and had the place to ourselves except for one other customer. For an appetizer, we ordered the ensalada de nopal, a hearty salad with cactus strips, tomatoes, onions, queso fresco and cilantro. It came with a Vidalia onion vinaigrette, which I used though the salad didn't actually need it. The substantial amount of cactus lent an earthy taste to the dish, which had a kick of spice and overall a very refreshing feel to it. This would be a great salad to eat outside on those upcoming hot summer days.
For my meal, I got the veggie burrito, a massive plate-sized burrito filled with avocado, rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and cheese. It was big enough that I could barely finish it, but I was left wanting a little bit more. Maybe some extra rice on the plate, or some black beans inside the burrito. I paired it with the chips and salsa we got when we first arrived, though, and it did the job. The burrito itself impressed me; normally when all the salad-like filling is inside, it can get slimy and limp. The veggies here still had a good crispness to them that made it very appetizing.
My husband ordered the chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. They came on a full plate of beans, rice and a little salad. The beans and rice were a delight, seasoned superbly and a good side to the enchiladas. As far as mole sauces go, this one was pretty unique. It was really dark, almost black, with a smoky chocolate flavor and seemingly a hint of coffee. My husband, a mole connoisseur, had never had one like it. Our waiter told us it's homemade, and you can really taste the love put into the recipe. The only criticism here is that the enchiladas themselves needed more cheese.
We didn't order dessert (we were both too full), but I plan to next time. Alejandro's offers two types of flan (regular and chocolate), a dessert chimichanga and fried ice cream.
• Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.
Alejandro's Mexican Restaurant163 W. Belvidere Road, Round Lake, (847) 886-7777
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday