Corazon Mexican Cocina in Central Phoenix: Homemade Horchata and Chilaquiles Off the Beaten Path

Several members of the Chow Bella team noticed a now brightly painted Mexican restaurant, Corazon Mexican Cocina, and sent me to investigate.

Before the facelift, the spot was known as Altamar Mexican Grill and still operates under the same owners. We approached with the question: Truly authentic Mexican food, or another wasted attempt at finding treasure in an unexpected spot?

See also: Méjico in Central Phoenix: Homestyle Mexican Food That Hits the Spot

A word of caution: If your visit falls during a time when the restaurant is empty, it might take a few minutes for the staff to realize they have guests.

The menu options were a little pricier than we expected, causing us to wonder if our wallets were about to be taken advantage of, or if we had just come upon a new Mexican favorite.

For starters, the horchata was homemade, made obvious by the settling of the ingredients on the bottom. It definitely made its way onto our list of favorite horchatas in the Valley.

The chilaquiles came in a fresh, spicy green sauce with two eggs over easy on top. Mixed in with the fried tortilla strips was tomato, onion and a hint of lemon. The mixture was not overwhelming and complimented the strips, which soaked up the sauce to soften their texture. The portion size was a little less than we hoped for, but the flavor beat out our expectation. A side of beans accompanied the dish, with a sprinkle of Cotija cheese on top.

The green chili enchiladas plate comes with four enchiladas with chicken inside, and lettuce, sour cream, onion, tomato and Cotija cheese on top. Again, the expectation bar was set low, and we hoped there was at least a few shreds of chicken. The presentation was tantalizing with the bright green chili, pure white sour cream and thickness of the enchiladas. Inside the chicken was tender and juicy, perfectly seasoned. Most times lettuce on an enchilada plate is the first to get taken off, but we left ours on as all the elements blended together.

The service was friendly and consistent, and since the restaurant is family owned and operated, a couple of the nieces (9 or 10 years old) brought out our food and came to check on us.

Other menu listings include "street" style tacos, fish specials, fajitas and menudo and pozole on weekends.

Corazon surprised with their dishes -- in a good way. We're looking forward to returning.

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