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Mighty mole at Hacienda Villarreal 

click to enlarge The enchiladas en mole, a plate of two enchiladas, beans, rice and a tomato and iceberg lettuce salad. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The enchiladas en mole, a plate of two enchiladas, beans, rice and a tomato and iceberg lettuce salad.

Hacienda Villarreal, 460 N. Murray Blvd., 418-5857

This richly decorated spot deserves better street visibility than its shopping center location affords: It’s invisible from both Platte Avenue and Murray Boulevard. Seated among brightly painted chairs and colorful decor, we start with the enchiladas en mole, a plate of two enchiladas, beans, rice and a tomato and iceberg lettuce salad.

The chicken comes tender and seasoned well, but the mole sauce stars. It has enough rich, savory punch that the chocolate and anise don’t overwhelm and turn it into something sweet. We also note a nice, subtle, lingering smokiness. Beans and rice both rate fine. A carne asada burrito comes with choice of red or green chile atop or, for a buck more, queso or pork green chile. We try the queso, which provides a thin coat of sharp cheese over the whole of the burrito, but not so much that it sogs the exterior.

The interior has little in the way of texture, but the finely cut asada tastes rich alongside beans and particularly fresh-tasting tomatoes. 

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