Saturday, August 28, 2010

REVIEW - El Indio Restaurant & Taqueria

2066 Beaver Ruin Rd, Norcross, GA 30071

So, on a recommendation from a fellow enthusiast, I went and tried El Indio Restaurant & Taqueria the other day. I must say that I have mixed feelings after a few visits to this restaurant.

Lets start with the positive
1)$.99 tacos - These are actually fairly good depending on what variety you get. I would recommend going for the lengua(tongue), cabesa(head), and birria(stewed lamb). They are all topped with cilantro and onions, and for $3, you actually get pretty full. The lengua particularly was nice. Well cooked, tender, seasoned right, and tasty. The birria has a nice texture, but is, suprisingly, a tiny bit bland for a lamb taco. The cabesa has been good & bad, so I guess it's a bit of luck of the draw on when you go.
2)Nice salsa bar - a good selection of fresh, housemade salsas - verde, rojo, molcajete, habanero, and pico, as well as pickled onions, jalapenos, radishes, carrots, and lime wedges if you are a purist for your taco. The salsas were all pretty solid, nothing earth-shattering, but very tasty.
3)Good quick service - walk up, place your order, and within a few minutes, you're eating.
4)Decent tamale - definitely homemade, good amount of filling, and pretty tasty once covered in salsa verde from the aforementioned bar.
5)Pozole - good, classic recipe. Nothing suprising, but a well made rendition

....and on to the not so positive
1)the menu while big, is very hit or miss. Even if you just stick to tacos, order the "safer" choices of asada, pastor, barbacoa, or pollo, and you might feel a little disappointed. The asada & pastor especially were pretty lackluster. Dry, pretty flavorless meat, not much of it, and just overall, disappointing.
2)The prices once you leave the taco portion of the menu, simply aren't justified by the quality. $8 for enchiladas that are no better that at El Azteca. Bland refried beans, overcooked rice, mealy shrimp? When I eat at a taqueria, i'm looking for fresh, simple, tasty, uncomplicated food, and frankly, a lot of the menu doesn't hit on all these points.
3)Menudo - I will admit, it's not my favorite dish, but I do like to try it. This version....not so much. While it's difficult to match Paulinas (the lady who used to work in the bakery where I worked, and would bring in pozole, menudo, and mole for her "ninos blancos" every week), this doesn't come close. Improperly cooked tripe, and oversalted broth.

Overall, two stars, but I will return because it is one of the better tongue tacos I have tried, and 3 of them for $3, why not?

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