For a while now, I've driven past the festively pink facade of Nacho's Libre on the corner of 1300 South and 300 West and had a few puzzling thoughts. Salt Lake is already lousy with Mexican restaurants so, really? Another one?

But there was something compelling about this place: the pink paint job, the quirky name (the owner's nick name is Nacho, so Nacho's Free?, Free Nachos?) the obvious effort that went into dressing up the previously unnoticeable building at one of the city's busiest intersections. So I finally wandered in to check it out.

And found this soup. (Sorry about the crappy camera phone shot. Also, I started eating it, realized how awesome it was and thrashed the nice presentation before I took this shot. But see how black?)

You've had tortilla soup. It's now ubiquitous on the menu of any place remotely calling itself southwest (even Paradise bakery has it). But you haven't had Nacho's tortilla soup. It's a complete 180 from the watery chicken broth that is mainstay tortilla soup. Nacho's soup is dark, almost black, and thick and stew like. The flavor is incredibly complex, roasted peppers, a little heat, chocolate, savory tang fighting with a sweet, richness. There's definitely some of the mole negro in there, in fact you could call it mole soup.  Whatever it is, this thick, rich almost black stew is a taste explosion.  Definitely a meal unto itself.

Hot tip: Nacho has an early bird special from 2 to 6 p.m. that has a small selection of entrees paired with soup and salad for $9.99, with cake and coffee for desert.

Nacho's Libre, 1280 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-466-4594