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Apr 4, 2008 10:06 AM

El Paso Mexican Restaurant, Englewood?

First of all, is this the right board? I don't know whether Englewood is in northern NJ or not! We are thinking of a trip down from Western MA to more hospitable climes. Came across a rave review of this restaurant, but one review does not a trip make. Does any Chowhounder out there know the restaurant? Is it authentic? Is it worth the effort? Any info much appreciated.

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  1. Sorry, actual name is El Paso Mexican Grocery, although it is a restaurant.

    1. Please don't make a special trip just to go there, you will be very disappointed.

      I have written favorably about El Paso, for sure (when I was working in Englewood it was a regular lunch haunt), but only in the context of being in the vicinity already (hopefully that came across?). It really is just a small market with a counter in the back serving tacos and tortas. Some things are above average, some are just plain good, and some things are sub-par- but none of it is worth the special trip. Even within it's own context it is not the best taco place in the area (La Batalla in Bergenfield has better cecina, lengua and chorizo, for example).

      Just out of curiosity- where di you read the rave review?

      3 Replies
      1. re: TongoRad

        Just a quick addendum:
        I don't mean to throw cold water on your idea of visiting the area and getting some good eats along the way- I'm all in favor of such a thing, actually- I was just trying to offer up realistic impressions of this one particular place. If you're into making the journey I'm sure I can come up with additional ideas to make it worthwhile.

        1. re: TongoRad

          Thanks, Tongo Rad. I forget where I saw the review of E.P.M.G. Actually we're trying to put together an overnight to hit the Staten Island Chinese Scholar's Garden and Mitsuwa Mall (the old Yaohan Plaza). Two couples into Asian food bigtime (without many outlets for our yens up here in the Berkshires). The Mexican Connection was just going to be a little something extra! If you have any suggestions for the Edgewater area, or Mitsuwa, or anything else that you think would tuck in nicely for us, we'd LOVE to hear. TIA.

          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

            Well now- that's a horse of a different color! I think I'll backtrack a bit since you will be close by and it will be a little side excursion (Englewood is closer to the Edgewater area than Bergenfield, so you might as well go to El Paso as long as you know what to order and not to order.)

            The best things they make are more in the range of 'greasy junk food' (in a good way) rather than a pure taco experience. #1 on that list is what they call Alembres (though technically the meat is not cooked on a skewer)- many meats are cooked on the grill, including chorizo, bacon and beef, then sliced peppers and onions are added, and shredded cheese at the end. It is plated with avocado and tortillas- salsas and pickled jalapenos/carrots are available at the counter.

            Next is a torta called a Cubana (not to be confused with the classic Cubano)- again, it's sort of a 'kitchen sink' type deal- it's got a scrambled egg, ham, grilled hot dogs (hot dogs?- yeah, well, it works for whatever reason...), and some other stuff that's not coming to mind at this moment (maybe cheese), along with the regular torta toppings. I only got this a few times because it is so filling, but it's good.

            My regular torta is the classic chorizo and egg. There are two people that have worked the grill when I've been there. When it's the guy (the other one is female) I gravitate towards this torta because he does it best. The difference is that once the chorizo is cooked he scoops it up and places it in the bowl with the scrambled egg, mixes it and places it back on the grill to finish. The woman instead pours the egg over the chorizo and mixes it on the grill. I don't know why it should make a big difference, but it does ;) Either way, it's a good torta, and something to keep in mind.

            I'd avoid the carnitas if I were you. They sell a lot of them by my observances, and they are probably quite authentic, but they are prepared in a style that I and other posters are not so crazy about. The cartilage is mixed in with the meat in tiny pieces, and it gives it a crunchy quality that the other customers seem to like but you may not.

            Hope that was helpful.