2011 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, October 16, 2011
If commercial pilot Rodrigo Albarran-Torres hadn't been facing a furlough two years ago, we might never have witnessed a Mexican outpost popping up next to a Shell station in Elkridge. If there's an upside to a sour economy, it's this pint-size eatery with a mere eight stools, which offers the chance to eat tacos every bit as swell as those in Mexico City, the owner's birthplace. The chicken taco, with bits of crisped meat scattered with chopped onions and fresh cilantro on a warm corn tortilla is good; tender beef tongue, shredded lamb and red-with-chili pork are even finer. (A late-afternoon run meant no baby pig for me. Drat!) Tacos with nearly a dozen fillings served with lime-infused tomatillo sauce aren't the only draw. The open kitchen, a whirl of activity, also turns out wonderful specials. One day's pollo Mexicano finds a loose stew of zesty chicken, onion, tomatoes and pepper arranged in its foam container (sad, I know) with yellow rice, beans and mild white cheese. Soups might include a knockout broth rich with lamb, thick with chickpeas and sharp with onion. "I'd love it more if there were tables," says a companion obliged to eat the first half of his meal standing up. Who cares that the view from the narrow counter is a tow truck or a Toyota? Refueling has never been so flavorsome.