You will probably have to use your GPS to find the place, if you are even brave enough to try it out. When people decide they want Mexican food in the Las Vegas, strip malls full of storefronts and churches are not where they are likely headed.
Too bad, because deep in the heart of North Las Vegas is a little gem where you can find some of the best Mexican food in the valley, and not a hint of melted yellow cheese.
El Menudazo, located on Lake Mead Blvd, is known in Vegas for their menudo, but I went for their pozole, a Mexican, some would say stew. I say soup. This is a favorite south of the border, especially for holidays and special events.
I first had pozole years ago in the San Gabriel Valley, an enclave a little east of Los Angeles. I was visiting a friend with family roots in Guadalajara and he decided to make up a batch. Soon he was tossing all of the ingredients into a giant pot and a few hours later I had a huge steaming bowl of goodness in front of me.
I was hooked, and over my years in Mexico, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had pozole. What I had at El Menudazo, was some of the best. Tomato based and loaded with meat and hominy, the taste was perfect, instantly taking me hundreds of miles south to the dusty colonias of rural Mexico.
Served with chopped onions, cilantro, radishes, salsa and dried oregano, this was classic Mexican comfort food, unlike anything you are going to get at the typical place in the US where you order your combo plate by the number. The only thing missing were tostada shells, the traditional accompaniment in Mexico, as opposed to the bowl of chips we were offered.
Lest you think menudo and pozole are the only highlights at El Menudazo, there are also tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, mariscos and even a kids menu.
Here’s what I’d recommend… based on what others have said, if you are lover of menudo, get that. But, if you are looking for something different, get the pozole. It is simply wonderful. Either way though, don’t go large because the bowl is gigantic.
Then alongside that bowl, get a couple of the street tacos. Serving up carne asada, carnitas, tripas and even al pastor, these are small and made with double tortillas, just as you’d get them at your favorite stand south of the border. I had the carnitas and found them perfect. With just the right amount of crust on the exterior, and wonderfully juicy inside, the tortilla was loaded with meat. I could eat these for days.
The only down side on the tacos was the salsa, served in those pesky little one ounce plastic containers that restaurants are using to control costs these days. For me, if you are offering street tacos, and they are as good as the ones they are serving at El Menudazo, why not offer up a few bowls of real salsa? I’m just saying.
Would I return? I’ll probably be there next week. Should you go? Of course, especially if getting a taste of Mexico as you might south of the border is important to you.
El Menudazo, 3100 E Lake Mead Blvd #18, North Las Vegas, NV 89030… Pozole for 2, plus a couple of tacos each and a soda, about $30.00.