What sets Chiapas Mexican Grill apart from other Mexican restaurants?

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WHAT: Chiapas Mexican Grill

WHERE: 298 N. Main St. (Ohio 48), Centerville (near Bill's Donuts)

WHEN: Open for lunch and dinner every day

INFO: (937) 949-3390

Chiapas is the name of Mexico’s southernmost state, bordering Guatemala along the Pacific coast, far from the U.S. border.

And now, it's also the name of Centerville's newest restaurant.

Chiapas Mexican Grill opened a couple of weeks ago at 298 N. Main St. (Ohio 48) in Centerville, and its menu focuses in part on the cuisine of, yes, southern Mexico, but is by no means limited to regional dishes.

Meat choices for soft tacos include chorizo, carnitas, seasoned grilled chopped steak, marinated pork, cow tongue, and grilled chicken. Although not listed on the menu, tripe is also an option when available. The restaurant serves a variety of tamales, fajitas, tostadas, enchiladas and tortas, or Mexican sandwiches.

We stopped in for a quick taste of a few menu items. Our server was helpful in pointing out some of the restaurant’s specialties.

  • Pozole ($10.99) — a chicken-with-hominy soup with shredded chicken breast and lettuce and radishes — is a winner. A great winter warmer, the rich and satisfying soup is served with a wedge of lime.
  • The huarache ($3.75) is a Mexican street food staple, our server told us, consisting of a fried, oblong masa, or cornmeal dough, wrapped around your choice of meat and topped with lettuce, sour cream, cheese and chopped tomatoes.
  • We opted for chorizo and cow tongue in our soft tacos ($2.75 each), served simply with a few chopped onions and cilantro. The chorizo was intense and flavorful, the tongue chopped into small cubes that were meltingly tender.
  • An entree of Mole del Sur ($12.99) consists of a chicken breast, pounded thin and grilled, smothered in mole sauce, served with beans, rice and soft tortillas. The sauce is the color and consistency of A-1 sauce, but the flavor is far more complex, with hints of chocolate and chile, neither of which overwhelms.
  • Menu items that beckon to be tried on a return visit include Camarones Alambre, which features 12 bacon-wrapped shrimp, grilled and topped with cheese, lettuce sour cream and guacamole; and Fajita de Seafood, which consists of scallops, tilapia, shrimp, crab, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes served with rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo.

The restaurant seats about 48 inside. The space previously housed the House of Kabab for five years, and ever so briefly, the Pasha Grill II, which shut down in early August after less than two weeks.

Chiapas Mexican Grill has a full liquor license and offers domestic and a few imported beers and mixed drinks.

The restaurant’s web site and Facebook page are in the works. For more information, call (937) 949-3390.