Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Taqueria Los Magueyes

-Got Beef? taco's de carne asada

Our first stop in 2010 is to Taqueria Los Magueyes located on Harlem ave in Bridgeview just across from Toyota Park Stadium (home of the Chicago Fire). Its a place I found not too long ago when cruising down Harlem en route elsewhere. I noticed it because it was in a spot previously vacated and also due to the sign letting it be known they had moved in. On top of a drawing of an al pastor spit they also advertised authentic tacos al carbon. I made the u-turn and headed into the lot to see they also had a drive-in which is from the previous fast food outlet that rented from there.

On Harlem ave in Bridgeview, IL

It was right around noon on my first trip here and when I entered they seemed to be getting ready for a lunch crowd and had some of their own proclaimed famous carne asada searing away on the grill. I took this as a very good sign and looked around for a fresh al pastor spit and only found a spit that was also spiffy and clean. Maybe they have a fresh spit going on the weekends I thought and went with some tacos de carne asada with the usual cilantro and onions. By the time I had placed my order there were three more large groups of people from the local factories, plants and offices stopping in for lunch. I also got to further browse the menu and was pretty overwhelmed with all the choices they offered including many of my traditional favorites.

skirt steak grilling away for taco meat

The dining area was a decent size and they had an extensive menu for family dining so it seemed like it could be an eventual winner. After a short wait my tacos arrived and I could feel the heat from them in the bag. I took them outside to eat on my hood and got a great big whiff of skirt steak from the chimney upon entry outside. I opened my tacos and was greeted by the same sweet smell. The steak was chopped perfectly and had juicy and crispy pieces in it and it all molded into a top notch taco. It was one of the better steak tacos I've had anywhere, from the locally made perfectly steamed tortilla to the fresh veggies and spicy and tangy tomatillo salsa. Its easy to see why these five ingredients make for a fiesta when combined with perfect product and prep like the ones at Magueyes. I could eat them all day.

authentic steak taco from Los Magueyes

Rating Scale 5/5

steak: 5 (when fresh off the grill)
cilantro/onions: 4
tortilla: 5
salsa: 4

Score: 18/20

When I was eating my steak tacos on my first visit I noticed this little sign pictured below in the parking lot. As noted from previous posts on this site, I love carne en su jugo and its one of the cities best wintertime eats. I got very excited since I had just had an excellent steak taco with some of the best steak in it I ever had in a taco before from here. I had to go back in and scope this out for future reference. I was also intrigued to see they do a Guadalajara style which is with a green tomatillo based broth. I checked out what the deal was and learned that they offer this Mexican classic on weekends and made a mental note to be back.

Mexican steak soup

I finally convinced a friend to head over there with me one Sunday afternoon to dine in and see what else they had. We arrived around 5:00p and the place was already hopping with tons of families and a party of at least 30 with a bunch of tables put together. I took this as just another good sign and within 5 minutes we were being seated and had chips and salsa waiting for us upon being so. I browsed the menu again even though I had my mind made up. If not for the carne en su jugo I would have gone with another favorite of mine cecina and gotten the dinner platter. Upon further review they also had cecina tacos so I went with a bowl of CESJ and a taco. The chips and salsa were good with the salsa being better than average and diffeent from the red and green ones offered, which were also at the table in plastic squeeze bottles. To go with those they had the traditional jar of pickled jalapenos, cauliflower and carrots and even a few bottled Mexican hot sauces.

Pickled Platter and salsa needs

My steak cecina taco was tasty and I would easily order one next time. The dried beef was full of flavor and the fact that it was just topped with fresh onion and cilantro, that flavor really stood out. I ended up tearing off little piece by piece like you would with beef jerky and eating it straight up. The friend who I convinced to come with me was very, very pleased with the barbacoa tacos and even ordered an extra two to take home. I also made sure to see if they had an al pastor spit going on the weekends. Still a no go.

cecina taco

By this time I had high hopes for the carne en su jugo and they slowly started lowering from the time it arrived. The first problem was they had already dressed the soup instead of serving the usual "toppings" like the radish, grilled onions, fresh onions, cilantro, avocado and dried peppers on the side. Except this bowl didn't come with any of the dried red peppers used to make it spicy the way I like it. It wouldn't have been a huge problem for me had they dressed it prior to serving but just did it with everything I'm used to it coming with. It was so busy I didn't want to wait to fix the problem and hoped it wasn't going to matter.

Carne en su jugo estillo Guadalajara from Taqueria Los Magueyes

I had such high hopes for the CESJ for a few reasons with the biggest being how good the steak in the steak tacos were. They obviously did up the grilled meats particularly well especially the skirt steak. Also because it is offered on weekends only so I figured they must do it up right and make a broth from scratch. But again my biggest hope came from how good the grilled skirt steak was and the thinking they would use this exact same steak in the CESJ which would make a whole lot of sense. However that was not to be the case. The steak was rather nasty and from my guesstimate had been sitting in the soupy broth for a while. It certainly was not fresh grilled chopped up skirt steak the way it is from the best spots. Luckily for me it wasn't my first meal from Magueyes and I know that there are other very good things on the menu. Like those steak tacos, still some of the best I've had from anywhere and the best drive thru tacos in town. If only they used the same steak for the soup.

Close up of the guts of the soup

Taqueria Los Magueyes
7101 South Harlem Avenue
Bridgeview, IL 60455-1133
(708) 924-4550


Los Magueyes on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog, I live in the western burbs, and I look forward to reading through your posts and finding wonderful new places to eat. Keep em' coming!

KingT said...

Thanks for the follow, there's plenty of them for you to browse and much more coming. Enjoy.

Ben said...

Thanks for the post. I love the places that leave the pickled vegetables on the table.


Related Posts with Thumbnails