It is said that presentation is everything, especially when it comes to food. So, when your meal arrives bubbling and sputtering in a scalding bowl carved out of volcanic stone, you know you're in for something special.
For years, the molcajetes have been the signature dish of the Kuna eatery, which has grown to become a maze-like restaurant to accommodate its own popularity. Locally owned, El Gallo Giro has earned legions of adoring eaters by offering a dizzying array of Mexican food made of quality ingredients, each boasting a depth of flavors, but more often than not, it's the small, black bowls that are parading out of the kitchen.
According to the restaurant, molcajetes are a traditional bowl that was used by the Aztecs as grinding bowls and to serve special dishes. Gallo has expanded on this, with each bowl baked until it radiates heat, then filled with combinations of steak, shrimp, chicken or even tongue.
The Carne Borracha is a favorite, combining pieces of steak with onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, tomatoes and ranchera sauce before it's flamed with white wine and topped with melted jack cheese. These are far from thrown-together meals, but they are definitely attention grabbing and may cause pangs of jealousy among diners who didn't order a molcajete.