Jackson's El Bracero offers authentic taste of Mexico

Thursday, June 19, 2008

According to Carlos Valdez, El Bracero's general manager, one doesn't need to go south of the border to find authentic Mexican cuisine -- just cross East Jackson Boulevard.

"Everything we serve is made fresh from traditional and original Mexican recipes, so it is all very authentic," he said.

El Bracero, 1815 E. Jackson Blvd., sits back from the main drag a bit, but the food makes it worth looking for the sign.

"Our fajitas come to your table still sizzling," Valdez said. "Everything is prepared only when ordered -- even the ingredients in our homemade chili."

While traditional items like chimichangas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas are perennial favorites, El Bracero's specials separate it from the rest.

"What makes us unique is our specialty dishes," Valdez said. "We have four different steak dinners as well as our signature creations. There is much to choose from."

El Bracero's menu features more than 120 specials, combo platters, appetizers, salads and desserts.

Valdez said his personal favorite is the Jalisco special, which got its name from Jalisco, Mexico, a state on the Pacific coast in west-central Mexico.

El Bracero got the Jalisco special, however, from the creative tastes of owner Nicolas Onate Jr.

The Jalisco starts with a bed of rice topped with grilled steak, chicken and shrimp that is cooked with onion, bell pepper and tomato and then smothered in cheese.

"It was a dish I used to cook for myself and then added to the menu," Onate said. "It sold better than I ever thought."

But the fiesta doesn't stop there. El Bracero has a full bar with drink specials and, occasionally, live mariachi on holidays and special occasions.

"Our margaritas are excellent," Valdez said, "especially the blue margarita. Happy hour goes from [3 p.m.] to close every day."

El Bracero is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

In addition to its appetizers, salads, desserts, combo platters and specialty dinners, the full menu includes a la carte selections, vegetarian dishes, a kids menu, lunch specials and an assortment of beverages.

El Bracero

243-9701

1815 E. Jackson Blvd., Jackson

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