PHX Los Betos, Filibertos, et al. - What's Good, Not?
I just got back from Los Betos. It's a 24-hour, mostly drive thru, Mexican place. This location is at 3001 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ (just North of Thomas Rd). I guess there are other locations. I'm thinking there is another at about 32nd St and Greenway in Phoenix.
A couple of years ago, a former neighbor of mine suggested I get the ham with eggs, and cheese burrito, there. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I've had a few more, and only one was a little "off".
Since then, I've tried some other items. The enchiladas were really disappointing. The sauce reminded me of Western brand salad dressing.
Tonight, I had a carne asada taco, and an adobada taco. Both were a large amount of meat with guac, tomato, cilantro, and onion, on two soft corn tortillas. I'm not saying the meat was top-notch, but, not bad. The tortilla was supermarket quality, but, the rest of the ingredients seemed good and fresh. For $2.29 a piece, it sure beat going to Taco Bell.
I really rarely go to these places, but, sometimes, circumstances make them a more favorable choice.
I'm interested in finding out what items are safe, and what should be avoided.
(somewhat dated menu)
Bean and cheese burrito...extra hot sauce on the side.
Avoid the "chips and salsa" that is inexplicably $3.75. It's a large to-go container full of chips, topped with melted cheese and pico de gallo. Not cheesy enough to be nachos, but soggy enough to be gross. If you must have chips, order "chips, plain" with salsa (pico) and hot sauce on the side.
Ahhh, the Berto group. Lots of places around town called somethingBerto. I've eaten at the beto's you mentioned, I rate it on the middle of the scale of the bertos I have eaten at. I have three Fillabertos within a couple of miles from me, two of them are inconsistent, and the one on Dobson and Southern in Mesa is actually really good about 95 percent of the time.
I think they are just about all reasonably safe to eat at, most of their problems have come from the green and white police (illegal alien stuff), rather than food issues. There is another berto like shop pretty close to the one you mentioned, but I think the food is superior. It's called Super Burrito and it's on Scottsdale Road, just south of Thomas on the East side of the street. I don't know about their late night status, but last time I was there, I got a couple of fish tacos for 3 bucks and a Huge Horchata, and I was pleasantly full for just over 5 bucks.
If you find yourself in Chandler, there is a little Taqueria on Alma School and Warner called Taqueria Azteca (it has another name too, I can't remember what it is). Small place, EXTREMELY friendly service from the owner/cook/server. Food is great and super cheap - about a buck and a half per taco. They are on the small side, but 2 is a good lunch.
Thanks for recommending the taqueria on Alma & Warner (the name on the sign now is Taqueria MiCasa). You're right about the guys being *very* friendly. Good, authentic carnitas and chicken tacos for $1.18 a piece. They have fish, beef tongue, and some other options as well. I work nearby, so I'm sure I'll go back often.
There's one of these places in Scottsdale, but it's not a "betos" or "bertos." It's on the north side of McDowell between Hayden and Scottsdale roads. Ugh, what is it called??? Does anyone know? Anyhow, I used to go there all the time after being out at the bars and I really thought it was pretty good, considering the price. Better than Filibertos, I thought. I would get enchiladas... then again, it might have been the alcohol talking...
I think Betos/Bertos/Super Burrito and Fiesta Burrito are all sub par - though Betos does a decent burrito when in a pinch.
They, as well as most of the other semi-fast Mex (SFM) food places suffer from similar probs:
- Dishes where melting is desired suffer from the quick prep and cold, styrofoam plating. Thus things like enchiladas, for example, are often cold, with unmelted cheese wrapped in a cold tortilla and some warm sauce poured on at the last moment.
- Blah sauces. In PHX I've yet to find an SFM place who've wowed me with their sauces - be their ench sauces or red/green offerings for wet burritos, chimis, etc. For example, I went to Super Burrito the other day and had a chimi served wet - where they simply poured a very bland brown enchilada sauce over the top. Maybe I've been spoiled by too many trips to New Mexico, where the bold sauces are often the highlight of the dish. Here they seem an afterthought - or a no thought.
Salsas - There are a few SFM places where I love the salsa offerings, but again at most they seem uninspiring. Also inconsistent. In some places you have no choice. Others might have one or two choices... tomato based, tomatillo based, thick/brown hot, thin weak/green. Others might have 3 or 4. I guess the key is to find a place that matches your salsa preferences and stick with it.
Finally, is it me or are many of these places getting a bit pricey? Sure there are some good deals, especially if you keep things simple, but I'm now finding myself more willing to drive a few miles extra and spend a couple of bucks more for a sit down Mexican joint and get more bang for the buck.
Note: The above opinions are mostly for the SFM places in this neck of the woods. I'd love it if an El Nopalito, for example, set up a divey place nearby.
I agree with you...
I am paying $5-$6 (or more) for this kind of food, I can do wayyy better at a slightly more expensive sit-down place. Or somewhere like La Tolteca where I ADORE their salsa bar.
However, I still just cannot do better for a cheap anytime of day or night bean burrito craving, but for other things...yeah, there are better choices.
Perhaps this opinion also is due to the fact that I am not heading home from a bar late at night on any sort of regular basis anymore. :)
People all think mexican food one big group. Try going to our east coast and get the same style of american food as you do on the west. ( I'm not talking McD's and the like.) Just the same with mexican food. Most of Arizona's food is not the same as New Mexico's style. There is a huge difference. I've lived in Albuquerque, Tucson, and now in the Phoenix area and all have a different flavor and style. It's just what you are familiar with.
I can't believe I didn't use the "Place" feature for Los Betos!
Los Betos Mexican Food
3001 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251