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He Said: Gadzooks is like Chipotle but with awesome enchiladas

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Have you ever craved a quick enchilada, but one done with quality ingredients and is as authentic as sitting down at a Mexican restaurant?

Gadzooks Enchiladas and Soup, near Seventh and Osborn streets, may be the place for you.

It’s been on my short list for some time and finally getting to give it a shot was making me wish I had tried it sooner. Similar in concept to Chipotle, it is a build-your-own setup with very friendly staff waiting to help build your ultimate enchilada.

The founder, Aaron Pool, like myself, has loved cheese enchiladas since childhood but as he grew up realized you could do a much better quality enchilada than what he was getting.

But he didn’t stop at enchiladas: There are other options for you. My gut says he is on to something and this may soon be more than just a local restaurant.

So how does it work? You start out by choosing between enchiladas, street tacos, salad, nachos, stuffed poblano, potato corn chowder or tortilla soup. I went with the two enchiladas, because after all, it is in the name.

Next stop is the filling. I choose braised short rib for one and chihuahua cheese for the other. The meet was tender and so flavorful and of course the cheese was like heaven with its creamy goodness.

Then again I can’t remember when I last had bad cheese — maybe that’s a good thing!

If neither of those interest you, there are many other options including chicken, pork shoulder, sautéed spinach mushroom and more.

Then you decide which sauce to cover it with — green, red or Christmas, which is a little of both. I went with red, because it has always been my favorite on enchiladas.

Then you can add a cheese on top, mostly for presentation at this point. I went with the asadero to get that white coloring and I will never turn down more cheese.

There are some options to add such as goat cheese, a fried egg, or guacamole. I added guacamole and it was fresh and flavorful.

The fifth step in this process is to add salsa, of which you have four to choose from. I opted to skip this step as I felt like I was already overloading my beautiful creation.

Finally, you can top it with crema (which I did), cotija cheese, honey slaw or pickled onion.

After all this, you take your cast iron bowl to one of a few tables and simply enjoy its beauty before devouring it. And, I promise, you will devour it.

I’m already planning my return and I desperately want to try the tortilla soup next, but I fear my hunger for more enchiladas will win out.