There's a new Mexican-style diner on the southwest side of Medford offering cuisine that is "muy delicioso" compared to other south-of-the-border fare.

There's a new Mexican-style diner on the southwest side of Medford offering cuisine that is "muy delicioso" compared to other south-of-the-border fare.

Tacos & Pollos opened about two months ago in a space once occupied by a donut shop near Stewart and Columbus avenues.

When a co-worker and I dashed into the eatery for a fast lunch, we not only discovered an airy, brightly colored room and a menu of authentic-sounding dishes, but a big, friendly welcome from the proprietor, Alex.

"Aqui está bien," my co-worker Terry said.

Taking a seat, we found a good number of choices on the menu, and it took us several minutes to make our selections.

Alex apologetically informed us that he was out of tamales when Terry ordered "la tamale de mole."

Recipes for mole vary from town to town and family to family. Made from chilies and Mexican chocolate, it's no wonder the tamales with mole sauce are a popular choice.

The menu also touts mesquite grilled meats for its many dishes, so Terry turned to "los tacos" and ordered one with "de birria," spicy marinated lamb with red sauce, and one with "de asada," grilled beef steak with green chili sauce and cilantro.

I took my turn and ordered a taco "de pescado," herb-marinated fish, and a veggie burrito made with rice, refried beans, sour cream and salsa.

When our dishes were served, I was pleased to find the taco made with fresh tilapia. There also was chopped lettuce and just the right smattering of spicy green chili sauce.

Our tacos and the burrito were on the light side, not smothered in cheese or sour cream and big on freshness and flavor.

The soft corn and flour tortillas are made right at the diner, Alex informed us. And the dishes carry enough flavorful heat from chilies and spices to give them a kick, but one that's not too fiery.

Along with lamb, beef and fish, you can choose from chicken, pork, chorizo, tofu and beef tongue for many of the menu's dishes. Pita pocket bread with lamb, pork steak, chicken or fish also is available. Prices range from $1.75 each for tacos to $5.75 for the tortas.

There are dinners of "pollo a la diabla," mesquite grilled chicken with rice, charros (pinto) beans, rice and fresh tortillas that range from $8.75 for four pieces of chicken to $19.75 for 12 pieces. On weekends only, "menudo de res," beef tripe soup, and "consome de borrego," lamb broth with garbanzo beans and white rice, are on the menu.

The restaurant is open late, and cervezas, domestic beers, soft drinks and take-out are available.

Alex, we also learned, is originally from Mexico City. He and his family lived in Arizona for many years before moving to the Rogue Valley.

His new restaurant with its good, fresh Mexican fare is a welcome asset to the neighborhood. I live on a nearby street in the area and vowed to return to Tacos & Pollo soon.

As a matter of fact, my boyfriend, Rob, and I returned to the restaurant the same evening.

We devoured a plate full of the fish tacos and an order of chicken flautas, which turned out to be three plumply stuffed rolls of corn tortillas topped with a soft, creamy "queso blanco," mild white cheese.

I'm looking forward to the next visit, and I'll be sure to call ahead for some of those tamales "de mole."

— Laurie Heuston