El Charrito

~Review by Chuck Bradley
Located on the north end of the Albertson’s shopping center on River RD N and Lockhaven, it’s a little hard to spot. But it’s worth the hunt. The exterior suggests it may be a chain operation, but it’s not. The interior belies this first impression. The decorating will not be unfamiliar to those who frequent locally owned Mexican places.

I was promptly seated by the attractive hostess and given water, chips, salsa and Pinto bean dip.

The menu item that immediately captured my attention was “Nopales con Puerco” Tender strips of Cactus sautéed with Pork, Onions and Tomatoes. I’d seen Prickly Pear Cacti in some local markets and Mexican grocery stores, but was not sure how it might be applied to the plate. My order was presented by my server, Juan, who was very patient with my numerous questions about the restaurant and the food. It came with Refried Beans, Rice and three thick and delicious Flour Tortillas. The Nopales con Puerco was fantastic and unlike anything else I have ever tasted. The Cactus strips were almost pepper-like in texture and had a flavor that I can only describe as unique. The Onions and Tomatoes were blended with a mélange of spices and seasonings making for a sauce that was indescribably good! The stuff begs to be culturally cross pollinated by topping steamed white rice or perhaps wheat or rice noodles.

It’s been awhile since a new (to me) dish has knocked me out like this one did. If you haven’t tried this, you really must. (It might be a little overpowering to the extremely spice sensitive.)

This is a wonderful restaurant offering “Authentic Guadalajara Style Mexican Food”. The people are friendly and helpful and the atmosphere is pleasant.

5458 River RD N
Keizer, OR 97303
(503) 390-1474

1 comment:

jeff said...

We used to live in the apartment complex behind the mall El Charrito is in. Always good food - and a lot of it - at a decent price.