Located in suburban Sacramento, CA, Taqueria El Balcon has been open since early January, 2019, and, in their words, serves "authentic Mexican food." I couldn't agree more!
Late last month, I first heard of the amazing restaurant from a fellow "Yelper," and a fellow "foodie," who described this restaurant as "over-the-top," and I knew it was time for me to pay a visit to see what it was all about.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's just a little past the 9 o'clock opening time, on Saturday, August 31, 2019, and I've arrived at Taqueria El Balcon to enjoy brunch, and a cold Pacifico beer. I normally don't drink beer for breakfast, but when it comes time to visit a great Mexican restaurant, I throw all caution to the wind, as long as I don't have to drive.
The restaurant is located in a newer, upscale strip mall, in suburban Sacramento, CA. Besides outstanding Mexican food, you're treated to plenty of free, safe and convenient parking.
Photo: As you walk in the door, you'll be greeted by the friendly gal who wears many hats, Erica, who will welcome you to the fine restaurant, and make you feel at home.
Taqueria El Balcon operates on what I refer to as the "taqueria format," where you make your selection from the menu posted above the counter, pay for your meal, and then you receive a "number," and you sit anywhere you choose, and your meal will be brought to you by a server, and today, the server was Erica, who seemed to be doing just about everything.
There is a large menu posted above the order counter, which doesn't list all of the selections the restaurant offers, which I think is a little odd, but all selections are listed on small printed menus, which you can take home with you.
If you're not sure of what you want to order, there is no pressure, as you can stand back, scan the overhead menu, and make you choice. If you're not sure, just grab a printed menu or ask Erica, as she's more than happy to explain to you all options.
Photo: Happy Hour happens weekday evenings between 6:00 and 8:00, and a sign near the order counter lets you know the drink specials. The $8.99 "Miche Caguamas" and $4.00 "Margaritas" are calling my name.
Photo: Taqueria El Balcon features a full-service bar, with several varieties of Mexican beer on tap, including my favorite beer, Pacifico. Traditional Mexican music was playing in the background, and there's a television monitor mounted above the bar, showing a soccer game in progress.
The bar is located just off the order counter, and features tall bar tables, which I absolutely love.
Photo: Is this really a Mexican restaurant, or is it a sports bar? The main dining room is mostly empty on this mid-Saturday morning, just after the restaurant opened, and a soccer game is playing on the television monitor, which seems to have captured the gentleman's interest. The main dining room really has a "sports bar" feel to it.
Photo: The second page of the three-page menu features "Combos," "Tortas," "Seafood," and a section for los ninos. I gravitated to the "Seafood" section of the menu, and when I came to "Camarones Monterrey" - bacon wrapped prawns - I was hooked... hook, line and sinker.
Photo: A very friendly customer places her order from the overhead menu, as Erica looks on, attentively. The gal in the photo was very friendly, and she came over the admire my brunch, after it was served. Note the tip jar on the counter; tips aren't expected, but they're certainly appreciated by the friendly, hard working staff.
Photo: This fine restaurant features a complimentary chips and salsa bar, that you can return to as often as you want. The fresh corn tortilla chips are to the side, and the bar features many different varieties of salsa,and each one is labeled as to it's content, and whether is hot, medium or mild.
I'm always a sucker for guacamole salsa, as it's my favorite, and I definitely helped myself to it. The white sauce at the right is actually sour cream, with small pieces of jalapeno peppers, which proved to be amazing! I'd never seen this before and I loved it!
Photo: My friendly server, Erica, pours my 22-oz Pacifico beer from the tap at the bar.
Photo: Erica brings my frosty mug of Pacifico beer with a smile. There is nothing like a large mug of Pacifico beer to get your Saturday started in the right direction.
Photo: Meet Erica, my friendly server, who brings my brunch of "Camarones Monterrey" to me with a smile. Erica provided fast, friendly and efficient service. This gal performed like a "Swiss Army knife," as she worked the register, took orders, brought out completed orders, poured beer from the bar tap, refilled;;ed the chip and salad bar, and when she wasn't busy doing those chores, she bussed tables and tidied up the counter area. She's a hard worker!
Photo: Thanks, Erica, for snapping my photo, as I prepare to enjoy my amazing brunch of "Camarones Monterrey," along with chips, salsa, corn tortillas, and a large mug of Pacifico beer.
Photo: From the "Seafood" section of the menu, I ordered "Camarones Monterrey," which is bacon wrapped shrimp. How could I resist such a wonderful choice of entree? Like all "Combo Plates" on the menu, "Camarones Monterrey" includes refried beans, Mexican rice, sour cream, guacamole, tomato, lettuce, and your choice of corn, or flour tortillas. In the spirit of the Mexican city of Monterrey, I chose corn tortillas for today's brunch.
Along with my plate featuring "Camarones Monterrey," I have a basked of fresh tortilla chips, a smoky chipotle salsa, guacamole, and a 22-oz mug of Pacifico beer, which is poured on tap from the well-equipped bar. I must confess the time was around 0930 in the morning, so this fine meal was definitely "brunch" for me, including the large mug of Pacifico beer.
The main course of the meal is BACON WRAPPED SHRIMP!!! How much more "over the top" can you get? This amazing meal features seven large shrimp, wrapped in bacon, and I assume to be deep fried. That's not all, as the shrimp are covered with tangy Mexican cheese, and rest over a bed of sauteed bell peppers and onion. To put it mildly, I was both dazzled and amazed at the presentation of the shrimp, as in all of my years of enjoying Mexican food, I'd never seen anything like this.
Along with the shrimp, you get a generous helping of refried beans, drizzled with Mexican cheese, and a side of not-so-special Mexican rice. I would bet your grandfather's fortune that the beans were cooked in lard, as they had a "earthy," or it could be described as a "nutty" taste, and reminded me of the many plates of refried beans that I've enjoyed during my many trips to Mexico. I could make a meal on the beans alone, especially with a trip or two to the chips and salsa bar for some guacamole or chipotle salsa.
The meal is rounded out by shredded lettuce, a slice of tomato, more melted cheese, sour cream, along with a generous side of guacamole, and a stack of tortillas; in my case, I chose corn tortillas, although you can order flour tortillas if you wish.
With such an elegant meal... where do you start? I confess that I really didn't want to mess up the beautiful presentation, so I took a few photos, did lots of sniffing, enjoyed a few sips of beer, and finally dug into my meal, one bite at a time. Amazing! Everything about this meal was simply delicious, and everything worked together in total "foodie" harmony to make a delicious meal. I might also add the seasoning was spicy and flavorful, but not at all hot, and this delicious food would be suitable for anybody.
Naturally the star of the meal was the bacon wrapped shrimp, and when I put one of them into my mouth and bit down, I was transported to "Nirvana," as the shrimp just ooooozed juice and flavor, and then when you added the smoky goodness of the bacon... needless to say, I became an instant believer in bacon wrapped shrimp, and Taqueria El Balcon.
After enjoying this amazing brunch, I was left speechless, as it was so delicious. My "Yelper" friend was correct, and when I reviewed this fine brunch on Yelp, I gave it, along with Taqueria el Balcon a 5-star rating.
Photo: My brunch featured seven bacon wrapped shrimp, drizzled with Mexican cheese, sitting on top of a bed of grilled red, yellow and green bell peppers and onion. Wow! This meal is the kind of brunch that a "foodie" dreams of... I definitely recommend Taqueria El Balcon for some of the best Mexican food that I've enjoyed since last week!
My "Yelper" friend was correct, as Taqueria El Balcon is truly over-the-top in every way, from the "sports bar like" atmosphere to the amazing menu. The service is friendly, the prices are reasonable, the beer is cold, the portions are HUGE, and the food is delicious. Taqueria El Balcon has it all!
Taqueria El Balcon
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