“A hidden gem” has to be the most trite restaurant descriptor ever to be used, but that’s exactly how you’d describe El Asador. Way out East, past El Dorado High School is the Good Time gas station, and within the convenient store is a cozy sit-down eatery. Once inside, you’ll forget about slushies as you’re transported to a nice restaurant and patio complete with wine and draught beer offerings.
It’s going to be hard not to fill up on their complimentary chips and salsa of thick, freshly fried tostadas and salsa fuego (roasted jalapenos and tomatillos), which can also be purchased at the gas station. Save room for appetizer selections of queso fundido, jumbo lump crab cakes, hummus, avocado fries with sriracha lime sauce and ultimate nachos that are piled high, and thankfully, can be ordered as a half portion.
Open for about five years, they’ve recently revamped their menu of mostly Spanish and Mexican dishes that includes sandwiches, salads, burgers and pastas. Paella Valenciana, their specialty, can be ordered for one or up to six people. The dish will take up to 25 minutes to make and comes with mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, scallops, linguisa (sausage) and roasted chicken atop saffron rice. Here, you can opt for traditional Mexican plates or try something different like the enchiladas stuffed with couscous, roasted vegetables and black beans smothered in poblano cream sauce atop a bed of cilantro lime rice. Other favorites include steak tacos with caramelized onions and asadero, applewood bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with manchego cheese and serrano peppers, drizzled with a smoky garlic mojo sauce and creamy lemon pesto bowtie pasta with the option of adding grilled chicken.
El Asador is the perfect balance of casual and fine dining in an unusual location. Don’t miss out on gourmet burger Tuesdays and street taco Wednesdays where items are specially priced.
12900 Edgemere, 915-857-1631, facebook.com/elasadorrestaurant, Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., $8-36, Vegetarian friendly.