Asadero El Sarape Restaurant, located on the north side of Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico, along Federal Highway 2, proudly states on the sign, the word "asadero" which means something like barbecue, or grill, and in the case of Asadero El Sarape, that means tender, delicious carne asada, cooked over a mesquite-fired grill.
Photo: Asadero El Sarape, is located on the north side of Sonoyta. Note my car is the only car in the parking lot
Photo: The somewhat impersonal kitchen and counter of El Sarape, with the cooks and salsa preparation guys dressed in red aprons. These guys do an excellent job, as El Sarape's food is delicious!
I was attracted to Asadero El Sarape, as I was driving south of downtown Sonoyta, Sonora, along Mexico Federal Highway 2, on Tuesday, March 13, 2007,as I was searching looking for a place to purchase dinner, when, like a moth to a flame, I was attracted to a pillar of blue/black smoke, rising about 40 feet into the air, before it dissipated, and I was able to smell the savory, sweet mesquite-flavored smoke rising from, what I ascertained-to-be, a taco-pit heaven. I couldn't seem to help myself, as the steering wheel of my car seemed to erupt into auto pilot mode, and before I knew it, I was parked next the El Sarape, and the door to my car had opened, and I was walking up to the counter, money in hand, ready to order. Wow! Things like this happen when you are a taco guru, such as I fancy myself.
Asadero El Sarape is typical in that it has a kitchen area, where you place your order, watch your meal prepared from the friendly chefs, pay for your meal, receive your meal, and find a picnic table to sit at, to enjoy your delicious meal. What isn't typical is that El Sarape is a large operation, as at the time of my visit, it employed three guys working the kitchen, and two girls bussing tables, and taking care of customers. Not to mention that there was a guy out in front of the restaurant with a garden hose, hosing down the parking lot and the front of the restaurant, just to keep the place clean and presentable. This is just another day in the life of Sonoyta...
Photo: Like most small roadside restaurants in Mexico, you can watch the chefs prepare your meal in the kitchen, open to the restaurant and to the dining room.
Photo: My carne asada meat is finished on the grill. Note the huge supply of green onions that are waiting for the grill. This place really believes in grilled green onions!
The menu choice at Asadero El Sarape is simple, and its so simple that it's not even posted on a menu placed above the kitchen, as per the custom in many small Mexican restaurants, yet the theme is made quite clear, as read from the sign posted near the highway: Asadero, which basically means, carne asada. By the way, in my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with that... So I placed my order, with one of the friendly kitchen guys, and sat myself at a table, relaxed, ready to enjoy the show.
The show didn't last long, as a few strips of meat were cut from pre-grilled slices of seasoned beef strips, and were thrown back on the grill, to cook for my taco. Green onions were also placed on the grill, as El Sarape serves their carne asada tacos with grilled, green onions, which add a truly delicious taste to the fine taco. As my carne asada was cooking, a cd-sized corn tortilla was placed on the griddle, alongside the grill, to cook my tortilla to perfection. At the correct moment, the grilled beef strips were removed, and chopped into fine pieces, and placed on the tortilla. Then, the question was asked what I wanted on my taco, and like a mechanical bunny I replied, "Con todo," and I got the works, which consists of shredded cabbage pieces, diced white onion, diced jalapeņo peppers, diced Roma tomatoes, and delicious in-house-made, creamy, guacamole. In Sonora, guacamole is served quite runny, and it diluted with tomatillos, but Sonora-style guacamole is delicious, and is a delightful enhancement to almost any taco.
Photo: Oh yes, a couple of pots of beans are cooking on a back burner, as the carne asada and the green onions are grilled in the foreground.
Photo: One guy dices my carne asada, as the other chef removes my green onions from the mesquite-fired grill.
The MEX $10.00 taco comes with a side dish of beans, which are some of the best beans that I've ever eaten, and have transformed me into a diehard fan of El Sarape. Your taco comes with a side dish of pinto beans, which are basically "pot" beans that include onions and cheese and some mystery ingredient, as when you sample your beans, you're instantly transformed into bean heaven. I kid you not, in all of my travels to Mexico, El Sarape serves perhaps the best beans that I've ever eaten. The beans are cooked in-house on the griddle nest the grill where the tacos are prepared, and when I asked the cook what he did to make his beans so special, he just gave me a vacant look, shrugged his shoulders, and told me that this is just the way they make their beans every day. I know enough about Mexican culture to keep my mouth shut at this point; suffice to say, El Sarape's beans are some of the best that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.
As I was being served my MEX $10.00 taco, with the delicious side order of beans, I told my friendly server that I had just returned from visiting Puerto Peņasco, and that I'd spent MEX $15.00 for a bare-bones taco, sans trimmings. He laughed and remarked that more Norteamericanso should stop by Sonoyta, as the small town has a lot of offer, and the tacos are much cheaper I couldn't agree more, as I love the town of Sonoyta, and the inexpensive prices.
Photo: My grilled carne asada meat is chopped, before its placed in my tortilla.
Photo: My dinner includes a delicious cup of beans, and one of the best carne asada tacos that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.
I highly recommend El Sarape for delicious tacos, despite the fact that their staff is a little on the "impersonal" side, compared to other local restaurants. Combine the fact that you can feast upon a truly delicious carne asada taco, with all of the condiments, and a cup of some of the most delicious beans that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy, El Sarape, at MEX $10.00, is a bargain basement deal that you can't effort to pas by. I love this place!
When you're visiting Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico, stop by El Sarape, and enjoy the finest cuisine that the area has to offer.
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