4

Going, Going, Gaoneras

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Tag and bag Las Gaoneras, the modestly ambitious and thoroughly delightful Mexican restaurant across the street from the goliath Renaissance Commons complex in Boynton Beach.

The first U.S. outpost of a Mexico-based chain, it didn't even make it a year before folding.  A bit higher up the food chain than the taquerias -- faux and otherwise -- that are as common in these parts as summer thunderstorms, it got good word of mouth (see Gail Shepherd's review here) but suffered from its niche-adverse position in the market (neither fast food nor truly upscale), a crappy strip-mall location a tortilla's throw from a Chipotle and a Chili's, and food that was probably just too... Mexican for a Chipotle- and Chili's-loving audience. 

At Charlie's pair of visits, the bare-bones space -- no bones, actually -- was practically empty, despite a menu of mostly familiar dishes (albeit done better, with the occasional twist) at wallet-friendly prices. Charlie is really gonna miss this place, the small but well-chosen wine list, the killer guacamole spiked with tomatillo salsa, the charro beans as tender and meaty tasting as prime fillet, and the positively wicked "La Mexico" tacos stuffed with sliced tenderloin, chorizo, and chicharron.

It's enough to make him cry in his Negro Modelo.

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