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Co-Si-Na Grill Mexican Cuisine, 1706 W. Foster, Chicago, IL 60640, 773-271-7103
Hours: 11am-10pm (closed 3-4pm daily, open until 12 am on Friday-Saturday, closed Mondays)

Keen on using yet another one of the 15 certificates they bought for 80% off on Restaurant.com, Giddy and Grumpy decided to try out Co-Si-Na Grill Mexican Cuisine in Andersonville. Conveniently located west of Clark, Co-Si-Na avoids the large crowds and traffic notorious of Clark Street restaurants. As soon as they got out of the car, Giddy and Grumpy noticed the inviting aroma coming from Co-Si-Na and quickly picked up their pace.

The Food
Start Off:
You won’t just get regular chips and salsa at Co-Si-Na. They serve you three different types of salsa: roasted chile de arbol, roasted tomatillo and some salsa we couldn’t quite figure out. It looked and tasted more like a shrimp cocktail sauce with a heavy pouring of ketchup. We skipped that and digged into the other two salsas, which we both enjoyed.

We then had the Botana Combination, a tamal with chile Poblano, calamari and guacamole. Giddy devoured the tamal almost single-handedly. The masa was moist and had a perfect consistency. It is so scrumptious that Co-Si-Na should consider making it an entree. Giddy was less than impressed with the calamari, which Grumpy liked but would have enjoyed more if it were served with lemon. The guacamole impressed neither of us as it lacked heat and salt.

Our entrees came with salad for Giddy and tortilla soup for Grumpy, two delicious starters.

Chow Down:
Tilapia Hidalguense
Giddy was ecstatic to see a dish on the menu that baked fish in cornhusks, a cooking method native to her home state of Hidalgo, Mexico. Hidalguense cooking is a rare find in Chicago, so Giddy jumped on the chance to try this dish. Overall, she was delighted. The chile de arbol sauce and nopalitos complemented the tilapia, and the flavor was enhanced by the oven-baked cornhusks and herbs. However, the dish could be improved by decreasing the fishy flavor of the tilapia. The sides of rice and potatoes were delicious.

La Oaxaqueña
Much to the dismay of her vegetarian sidekick, Grumpy ordered La Oaxaqueña, a giant slab of grilled beef tenderloin smothered in Mole Doña Esperanza, Co-Si-Na’s signature black mole sauce made with over 20 ingredients. The meat was cooked to perfection, but the mole was on the salty side, and the melted Mexican cheese didn’t help matters. The delicious, moist rice and savory beans made up for it.

Sip:
We didn’t know Co-Si-Na is BYOB, which drew a gasp from Giddy, who enjoys a glass of cabernet with dinner. Despite Giddy giving Grumpy a swift kick under the table to encourage her to run to one of the many nearby liquor stores, Grumpy stayed put and ordered a refreshing horchata. Giddy grumpily sipped on water. But by the end of the heavy meal, it was Grumpy who was craving a sip of cabernet. At a cheap $1 cork fee per person, we’ll make sure not to forget our wine next time.

The Digs:
The atmosphere is relaxed and intimate with soft mustard yellow walls balancing bold reds. Mexican paper mache skeleton dolls creatively flank one wall while common traditional paintings of Mexican places and legends decorate the others. Ladies will appreciate the cleanliness and beautiful rustic decor in the women’s bathroom.

The Service:
Service was excellent–attentive, prompt and friendly. The waitress was knowledgeable about the dishes and ingredients and was accommodating to Giddy’s vegetarian needs.

The Bill:
The bill was reasonable and comparable to other grills. Expect to pay $15-20 for your dinner entree. It’s worth getting the $25 certificate from Restaurant.com.

Overall Rating: Giddy & Grumpy both approve of Co-Si-Na.

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