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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Mexican Eatery a Pleasant Surprise

June 26, 1987|RUTH REICHL

Some of the city's most interesting Mexican food is being served in one of the least likely places. Who would expect to find dishes like chilpachole de mariscos (an abundant fish soup), pollo pibil (chicken wrapped in banana leaves) or pescado almendra (fish steamed with almonds) in a Venetian restaurant? And yet that is exactly what you will find on Sunday evenings at Rondo, 7966 Melrose Ave., (213) 655-8158.

Owner Graciella Checchini has imported a chef from Mexico City to do the cooking; she wants to show how sophisticated Mexican food can be. And so the Sunday menu in her streamlined, warm little restaurant is loaded with delights. From the tiny soft tacos filled with chicken in various sauces to the Margaritas made out of celery (don't knock it till you've tried it), the menu is filled with pleasant surprises.

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