S at Park Pl.; 2, 3, 4, 5 at Franklin Ave.
Cash Only, MasterCard, Visa
Eastern Pkwy. to Atlantic Ave., New York Ave. to Flatbush Ave.
Sharing a name with superstar Chavela Vargas, the gravelly voiced singer who made her Carnegie Hall debut at age 83 in 2003, this homey joint debuted Mexico’s iconic cuisine to a similarly enthusiastic response in early 2007. The cozy dining room feels like the foyer of a Latin American home, with tiled floors, an exposed brick wall lit by colorful candles, and portraits of Vargas herself. Tiny clay jugs on each table hold small gomas de mascar, the fruit and mint gums that chef Arturo Leonar was determined to resurrect from childhood. It’s a promising sign of the kitchen’s homespun offerings, such as fresh pico de gallo; platters of spiced, shredded chicken and beef; black beans; and smoky strips of grilled cactus. Most dishes go easy on the heat, but the grilled corn has a welcome bite via chili-pepper-flecked mayonnaise and cojita cheese. For a dinner that needs a knife and fork, the chicken mole is a delectably chile-laced concoction.
Aurelia’s mole, $13; elotes callejeros, $3; avocado torta, $7