By Frank Sabatini Jr.
“This isn’t like the Mexican food up the road,” I said to my companion when tapping into a brittle sheet of rolled, fried cheese the size of our forearms. The appetizer, chicharron de queso, ranks among several dishes at El Charko that are well-known throughout Mexico City but absent along San Diego Avenue in Old Town.
The colorful indoor-outdoor restaurant surfaced more than a year ago in place of Crazee Burger. It’s owned by a family from Mexico City, and based after a restaurant there that is perched beside a pond inhabited by frogs. Hence, the name El Charko, which translates to “the puddle” or “pond,” manager Tony Hinojosa explained while steering us to authentic dishes he termed as “peculiar to San Diego.”