Upon first glance Burrito Loco, located at 166 West 4th St. in the Village, seems to be a lively restaurant, filled with the sounds of Mariachi music, the aromas of well seasoned steak and, of course, parties large and small enjoying the Mexican fare. Yet beneath the festive surface, the authentic south-of-the-border cuisine served here has deep roots in history, tracing its lineage of family-style banquets all the way back to the time of the Aztecs.

One need not look far at Burrito Loco to see tradition flourishing in full effect. Perhaps the headliner of the antojitos, or appetizers section of the menu, is the house guacamole, prepared tableside at in strict adherence to ancient customs. All patrons will enjoy watching the deft motions with which their waiter blends together fresh Hass avocado, diced white onion and tomato with fragrant cilantro, lime juice and sliced jalapeños in a stone mortar known as a molcajete.