When I think about my ideal Mexican meal, I think about family and friends, chips and salsa, good music, and delicious staples like chimichangas and fajitas. I’m a sucker for the classic dishes done right! So when I knew I was heading to check out El Zocalo, I couldn’t help getting a little giddy!
Meant to transport you to the central plaza in Mexico City that it is named after, this family owned restaurant gives an authentic, comfortable atmosphere to eat and enjoy with your friends and loved ones. The patio is spacious and beautifully decorated with greenery, twinkle lights, and a rustic fountain, and the perfect place to enjoy an ideal Arizona evening. We do have the best view of the stars, if you ask me. I couldn’t wait to get a margarita and dive in to the classic array of dishes on the menu. What made the menu even more exciting was knowing that it is sprinkled with family recipes and that they are meticulously made according to how they authentically have been for generations.
We started with two fresh margaritas to accompany our deliciously crispy chips and salsa. The 66 Cadillac was the first recommendation and was a refreshing choice with Peligroso silver tequila, grand gala, and freshly squeezed lime juice to tone down the sweetness of most margaritas. The Blood Orange Rita was also a fun choice with Herradura Reposado, Grand Marnier, blood orange syrup – monin and sweet and sour. We wasted no time continuing our little fiesta with an assortment of savory dishes.
We covered our entire table with a mix of dishes that took us in to sensory overload! Name your favorite ingredient and I guarantee we had it in front of us! The Shrimp Relleno was my first bite. I just had to dive in to this dish of poblano chile stuffed with seasoned grilled shrimp, Monterey Jack cheese, smothered with El Zocalo’s signature poblano jalapeño cream sauce. Next up was the highly recommended Carne Asada plate with thinly sliced marinated carne asada steak cooked at a beautiful medium rare, grilled and accompanied by fresh guacamole, and pico de gallo. The Chile Verde smelled so good I had to go to it next. The pork is tender and simmered in a green chili sauce that had a symphony of different spices that elevated the pork to a very flavorful point. It had become evident after sampling only three of the specialty dishes thus far that these family recipes were certainly perfected and executed to a T! Last, but certainly not least, we enjoyed the fajitas; classically served in a piping hot cast iron skillet, we heard the sizzle coming as soon as they left the kitchen! And we were lucky enough to get a mixture of steak, chicken, and shrimp so that we didn’t have to choose just one! Did I mention that every dish was served with homemade flour tortillas? You can almost taste the love and time put in to baking these magnificent shells. I could have eaten a plate of tortillas all by themselves!
After having the Shrimp Relleno and the shrimp in the fajitas, both cooked differently, I have to say that it was one of my favorite components of the evening. Each way they were cooked was vastly different from the other but the flavor was full and boasted skill and elevated flavors. The same went for the different cuts of steak throughout our evening. Having the cuts and flavors side by side just showed us the dynamic and range that you could have on classically done, perfected dishes.
We will certainly be back to try the famed fried ice cream that we wish we had the room to enjoy! If only I could have a clone so I could enjoy twice the food!
Make sure to check this wonderful, classic, family friendly restaurant out for a beautiful atmosphere, exquisite patio, and savory fiesta of flavors! Plus, we hear that their weekend evenings turn in to quite the nightlife spot to see! They have a dj, live music, and street tacos for all! It looks like we’ll have to come back for an evening of merengue and more latin dancing! See you all there.
Cheers and Bon Appétit, Food Lovers!