June 30, 2008

El Charro

By Angele Sionna

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="409 S. San Francisco, Flagstaff, AZ"]409 S. San Francisco, Flagstaff, AZ[/caption]

409 S. San Francisco St., Flagstaff
(no menu on line)

The Food (taste/flavor/quality of food & drinks)
>>>= good, but not great

The Atmosphere (environment, wait staff, comfortableness)
xxx= good but could be improved

Price (what to generally expect to pay per person per entree)
$= under $10

Value (what you get for your money)
*** = fair -you get what you pay for, not in a bad way

With El Charro, what you see is what you get. It’s a simple, family owned Mexican restaurant without any bells and whistles, but good service and food by people who care about making it. Inside a converted home in the midst of a Flagstaff Neighborhood, this isn’t the place you’re going to see many tourists. What you’ll find instead on most weekday afternoons are NAU employees who took a short walk from their office to grab lunch. That’s when I recommend going to El Charro because their great lunch special makes this place definitely worth trying.

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="One of El Charro's lunch special combos"]One of El Charros lunch special combos[/caption]

For $6.25 plus tax, you get any two items from the A La Carte menu, rice, beans, a tortilla or sopapilla, and soda or iced tea. Hard to find a deal like that in this town. The A La Carte menu includes tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, and burros. My personal recommendation is the guacamole tostada and a cheese enchilada with the sopapilla for dessert. My husband always gets one beef enchilada and one cheese enchilada. To note here, the beef enchiladas have not been Americanized. They are a cheese enchilada with cubes of beef and red sauce on top. It was a little surprising the first time my husband ordered it, as he’s used to ground beef mixed with cheese inside the enchilada. But he likes it enough to order it every time we come.

If you’re on a diet, you’ll want to skip El Charro. There’s probably nothing for you on the menu. It is very meat and cheese driven and loaded with carbs.

El Charro is also not the place to go if you’re looking for spicy or interesting flavor combinations. Instead the flavors are mild, bordering on boring. Growing up in Texas I’m accustomed to Tex-Mex style cooking that brings much more zing and spice in every bite, not to mention more vegetables in the entrée selections. You’re not going to get anything like that here. But I’ve yet to find any place like that anywhere in this town.

This is a Mexican restaurant in every sense of the word. The tone of the dishes are much more basic, yet solid and reliable. Every time I’ve come to El Charro the food tastes exactly the same. Also dependable is the service. The owners and their family run the restaurant hands-on. They greet you, serve the food, and make sure you’re drink glass is always full. I often see the owner’s family eating lunch here when they’re not working.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="180" caption="El Charro's sopapillas"]El Charros sopapillas[/caption]

The atmosphere is kid-friendly with colorful murals hand painted on the walls and piñatas hanging on the ceiling. My daughter particularly likes the animals depicted in the landscape, which she promptly begins naming as soon as we sit down. Also good to note, if you’re little ones don’t go for Mexican food, the menu has picky-kid friendly items like burgers and fries. Hands down my daughter’s favorite part about coming here are the sopapillas with honey that come with the lunch special. Truth be told, they’re my favorite part about coming here too.

See more photos of El Charro HERE.


Post a Comment