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Coyote Cafe’s beef matchatka plate is Buffalo-Mexican fusion favorite

If you learned that the owner of a Mexican restaurant was named Jeff Giovino, would you hold his name against him?

Even if his grandmother’s name was Mora?

“Grandma Mora’s on Hertel? That was my grandmother,” Giovino said. “I worked for my uncle for years, then opened my own place in 1993. I made different things, the way I thought they should be.”

In 20 years, Giovino’s Coyote Café (36 Main St., Hamburg) has pulled crowds for Mexican food in the Southtowns. One of its most popular dishes is beef matchatka, a Buffalo-Mexican crossover favorite.

The $14 plate has twin beef burritos smothered in a lemony horseradish cream sauce. The “wet burrito” treatment is a standard, but Mexican cooks usually use chile for heat. Like other entrees, the beef matchatka comes with a choice of two sides, including rice, beans and sopa de fideo, the Mexican noodle soup.

Beef round is braised for three hours with peppers, onions and garlic. Shredded, the beef is rolled with cheddar and Monterey Jack inside a pair of large flour tortillas. Then it’s topped with creamy sauce and baked until it bubbles.

Matchatka is Mexican, Giovino said. “The horseradish cream sauce, that was us.”

His place makes its own red and green chile sauces, as well as a cheesy queso sauce, but he wanted something different. “I figured everybody likes horseradish, like on beef on weck,” he said. “They always say, ‘He’s pretty good for not being Mexican,’ ” Giovino said. “But my grandmother taught me the basics.”

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Foodie find:

Taste of the Towns. Restaurants offer local favorites ranging from barbecued chicken to sausage, pizza and desserts at a fundraiser starting at 6 p.m. Saturday in Mount St. Mary Academy (3756 Delaware Ave., Kenmore). Tickets are $20 advance, $25 door. For tickets, call 877-1358.

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