Dona Naty's Taco: Round 1 Review

#12. Dona Naty's Taco
1813 W. Chicago
Chicken Burrito Suizo
$4.50 (no extras)

Defeated #12b Carniceria Leon in Eat-in Match [verdict]

I've been in a state of mind lately that I call the blas├ęs: a sort of self-reinforcing combination of business and laziness that makes me easily distractable and short on productive time. As a result, it has taken until today to make my return visit to Dona Naty's Taco. Waiting until Saturday however has one distinct advantage, which is that I was able to enlist the services of guest eater and photographer Robert Gauldin, who is responsible for the money shots that you see in today's article.

The Food: The idea of Burrito Bracket is to match the items I eat at each restaurant as closely as possible within any given week. Since I ordered a super burrito at the aptly-named Taqueria Super Burrito earlier this week, which came complete with guac and sour cream, I naturally wanted to do the same at Dona Naty's. But in spite of having a fairly broad menu, Dona Naty's does not really have a "super burrito", nor any way to order guacamole and sour cream on the side. Thus, I went with a burrito suizo instead, suizo meaning "swiss" because of the cheese (and green salsa) that sits atop the burrito.

The burrito suizo is not the prettiest thing in the world -- the layer of semi-congealed cheese sitting atop the burrito shouts out "you're going to need a knife and fork, buster". Fortunately, it's what's inside that counts. It's clear that Dona Naty's takes enormous care in the way that it prepares its meats. The chicken was ground up quite finely -- almost moving in the direction of a puree -- and as a result it allowed the exceptional seasoning of the meat to shine through, with its host of spicy and savory flavors. In addition, all of the ingredients (the chicken, plus finely-sliced onions, tomato and lettuce, and a light complement of beans) were blended together into one continuous whole, rather than producing the "layered" effect that you might experience with some other burritos, where one bite is all lettuce and the next is all meat.

There are two real compliments that I can pay to this burrito. Firstly, it was the first dish I've come across that didn't really benefit from salsa -- the subtle combination of flavors were better left to their own devices. And secondly, it proved that a chicken burrito need not be boring. That's not to say that this was a completely flawless experience -- the tortilla was a little doughy, and I came across one chicken bone. But meat that is seasoned and flavored this well does not come about on accident.

The Experience: The service was much friendlier than I'd experienced on my previous visit -- our young waitress made us feel very welcome, even if there was some confusion at the end where we asked for the check and wound up with the toothpick dispenser. The one catch about Dona Naty's is that it can take a fairly long time between the time that you place your order and receive your food. The guys in the kitchen always seem to be working pretty hard, so I trust that this is because Dona Naty's just isn't taking a lot of shortcuts in the preparation of its food. Plus, our waitress gave us a refill on our chips, so it was all good.

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