Formerly: El Gallo Bravo features a fantastic celebration of cockfighting and spicy food all under one roof. The menu is smaller and simpler than average: Tacos, burritos, tortas and tostadas are available with one of a dozen meat fillers, from chorizo to strips of steak. For larger appetites, El Gallo offers chilaquiles, fajitas and carne asada. Most meals come with a small iceberg lettuce salad and an order of beans and rice on the side. The food is best when liberally seasoned with cilantro and lime, portions of which come with the meals, and topped off with a Corona, which you'll have to bring to the BYOB eatery. El Gallo is cheap (most meals are less than $5) and open 24 hours, but it would be a mistake to lump this Albany Park staple in with Chicago's crowd of Mexican diners. Like a fighting cock strutting after a victory, El Gallo warrants attention.
The dining room is small, though tables are spaced well enough to keep from feeling cramped. Diners can sit at one of six tables or at the bar, which accommodates seven. A television and a video poker machine dominate the back end; peruse the jukebox chock full of Mexico's hottest hit-makers to kill the time before your food arrives. The restaurant's decorations create a Mexican flag effect, with colorful adornments in equal parts red (tables, chairs and paintings of fighting cocks), green (cacti) and white (the linoleum floor). I assume it was unintentional, but nevertheless, the atmosphere inside is as flag-centric as the red, white and green awning hanging outside.
Reviewed By: Patrick Corcoran