I recently did a little survey for Eater Chicago regarding the 2019 dining scene in Chicago. In it I was asked for the years biggest dining surprises. I tried to make all my answers unique so no one else's were the same as mine. That wasn't a problem for my answer on the years biggest dining surprise - "Real deal Cuban sandwiches and Sinaloan seafood found in Elk Grove Village (Cubano Bros, El Rodeo Restaurant)". The former of which I posted about HERE, and now the latter of which is today's featured post. I found El Rodeo by searching for Sinaloa seafood restaurants in Chicago. Unlike out in LA there's only a few in Chicagoland and El Rodeo Seafood was the most intriguing of the trio.
Locals Favorite in Elk Grove Village
This spot would be pretty hard to find randomly as it's right off the highway on a one way strip so it's rare for anyone to just happen to pass by, not to mention it's in the corner of a small strip mall with only one entrance which makes it a hidden gem of sorts (you would only see it if driving by the street with no entrance into the strip mall). El Rodeo caught my eye bc they offer up Seafood Towers aka "Torres" which are all the rage in LA these days. As you know anything that gets popular in LA is likely to venture to other spots across the country. I've even seen pictures of Torres in Detroit posted on social media and such. More on the torres in a minute bc the other menu section to catch my eye was the "Tacos Del Mar" part of the menu. These are house special seafood tacos that come in orders of two. I'm usually not a fan of that but I don't know where else you can find popular regional tacos like Tacos Gobernador and Costra tacos. Gobernador tacos are popular in Sinaloa where a former governors wife once requested tacos with shrimp, onion, peppers, tomato, cheese. It's a delicious combo and puts the myth that Mexicans don't eat cheese with their tacos to bed. Also worth ordering are the Costra Tacos de Camaron. Costra tacos are made by grilling a bunch of cheese until crisp and laying the cheese on a tortilla with meats like steak or in this case shrimp.
Seafood Tacos at El Rodeo Mexican Grill
El Rodeo actually lists it's charcoal grilled carne asada as it's house specialty. So I had to make sure to at least try a steak taco on one of my visits. Another really well made taco that definitely had some good charcoal grilled steak flavor. I also appreciated the large pieces of carne asada as opposed to the more chopped up stuff you see at so many other spots. So don't worry about coming here with someone who doesn't like seafood. I haven't tried the flame grilled burgers but I bet they're good.
Steak Taco at El Rodeo Mexican Grill and Seafood
Now for the specialty seafood towers. These are rising in popularity in so many SoCal mariscos restaurants. Most of them have Sinaloa ties as this dish is popular in Northern Sinaloa where they like to eat dishes with the toppings piled on, be it with seafood or a bag of chips. These torres are made by piling different seafood and ceviches, as well as diced veggies, avocado, and more into a ring mold, and then pouring some sort of sauce onto all of it and serving them with saltine crackers and tostada shells. They're great for instagram so no surprise that they're so popular in LA. El Rodeo makes three different towers that aren't quite as tall as some of the others I've seen out in LA but they still taste great which is really all that matters. Of the two I've tried (La Topolobampo / Marinera) I really like the 'Torres Marinera' made with shrimp ceviche, cooked shrimp, scallops, octopus, avocado, cucumber, and onion. There's also a nice reddish salsa and lots of Maggi poured on top.
Seafood Torres at El Rodeo Mexican Grill and Seafood
Lastly there's the camaron burger. Exactly as it sounds except it's not made from some mysterious patty they say is minced shrimp meat. Though you can order a char burger with shrimp as a topping you can also get just a shrimp burger with fries. It consists of a couple handfuls worth of well cooked plump shrimp mixed with bacon, chihuahua cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, sliced avocado, and a semi spicy mango habanero salsa. I rarely ever think of making a shrimp sandwich like this but come summer I plan on making my own version using grilled shrimps with similar toppings. Fun stop.
El Rodeo Mexican Grill and Seafood
1181 Biesterfield Rd
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007