Arlington Heights area down and dirty Mexican
If its dirty you want, also try TACOS EL NORTE on Rand between 53 and Dundee.
There is also a place in Palatine on Palatine and NW HWY called... I want to say Taqueria Jalisco. If you hit that corner ON Palatine, you can't miss it. Its right near a gas station.
Whatever you do , dont go to TOREO on NW HWY between Smith and Quinten though. Its poorly done.
Just finishing up my carne asada fix from Las Asadas in Des Plaines. My friends and I rank their food on a percentage basis. We tend to go together, and rank it according to the best carne asada tacos that we've ever gotten from there.
Salsa percentage of heat and flavor;
Carne asada percentage of flavor and tenderness
and then on a whole.
Carne Asada: 94%
As a whole, it was in the 93rd percentile ranking of the best I have ever gotten from there. LOL. Not a particularly GOOD rank, but it will still be better than any taqueria in the area (for carne asada) by tenfold.
I still don't understand why the masses go to the places that use cheap chewy pan fried garbage meat when there are places that use char grilled tender skirt steak. Jan, hope you get to try it out soon.
It's not a taqueria and it's not "down and dirty", but right next door to Arlington Heights is Flamingo's, which specializes in creative Mexican seafood. The food is spectacular, and it's authentic Mexican seafood cuisine.
1590 S. Busse Road
Mt. Prospect, IL
Steak Tacos. IMO the best in your area: Las Asadas on River Road in Des Plaines. Also on Oakton in Des Plaines. Look up their listings. MMMMM. Char grilled skirt steak.
Other recs for a decent taqueria:
Monica's in Prospect Heights right by Palwaukee (Willow and Milwaukee)
The Jimenez grocery on Dundee in Buff Grove serves up a mean Carne Asada platillo for about 7.50 if you wanna get really down and dirty. Also, I dig their carnitas.