At first I was looking all over the place for parking, but it ends up that Nuevo Leon has a lot a block over from the restaurant. It was amazing that the second we got out of the car that the air just smelled of delicious Mexican food. They don't take reservations, they're CASH ONLY, and they get packed. We got there just before a huge lunch rush and were very lucky. From large Mexican families to whole construction crews on their lunch break, a large line had formed that almost put people waiting out in the frigid cold.
We got sat at a table with another group because they were trying to be efficient, which I appreciated since it meant less waiting time for us. The service was great, especially considering how busy it was. Maybe the best quality was how inexpensive it was. Gigantically portioned entrees were $6-10 with appetizers at $3.50 and Horchata for $1.
To begin with, I've got to talk about the chips and salsa. The chips were a decent consistency and came out warm which is always a plus. I wasn't really a big fan of the salsa which tasted a little watered down. What I did like were the pickled jalapenos and carrots that also came with the chips. In addition to the free chips and salsa, everyone gets some kind of small appetizer for free. Sometimes it's soup (which Amy was passionately hoping for), but this time we got a Potato-Filled Flauta with a tomato sauce and chihuahua cheese. It was pretty tasty, but it was my first of many introductions during the meal to a stewed tomato sauce that rubbed me the wrong way. We also all ordered Horchata to drink.
The Potato Flauta
The Chips, Salsa, and Pickled Carrots
We had to get Amy's favorite appetizer which was the Nachos Dias. Basically it was a platter of cheese quesadillas covered in the tomato sauce, sour cream, and guacamole. It was a great appetizer considering that all I wanted was something to thoroughly clog my arteries, but again the tomato sauce threw me off a bit. It was a little runny and acidic. Still the guac was tasty and the pretty large sized plate of food was $3.50.
The Nachos Dias
For our entrees Amy got the Bistec A La Mexicana (a stewed skirt steak dish), Jeanutter Butters got the Combination Platter (1 beef taco, 1 tostada, 1 tamale, and 1 enchilada), and I got the Chicken with Mole Sauce. The Bistec tasted very much like my mom's beef stew but with some Mexican spices. The combination platter more than anything else was just a ton of food for $6. My Chicken was really well prepared and the mole was rich and complex. Also, I know this is something simple, but they had fantastic rice and beans. They were warm, had interesting texture, and in general just seemed like they weren't from a can.
The Chicken in Mole
The Combination Platter
The Bistec a la Mexicana
A friend once told me that Nuevo Leon is the gringo place in Pilsen, but that was not the case when I went. There were tons of Pilsen natives that clearly frequent this place all of the time. The food for the most part was pretty well prepared stuff at really low prices. I really didn't like the stewed tomato sauce that was on a lot of the dishes, but when I got past that everything else was spot on. I'm giving Nuevo Leon 3 out of 5 Pearls.