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May 25, 2008 04:35 PM

El Sarape, Hartford: little bit of Mexican Heaven in CT

I had to start a new topic for this and not have it buried at the end of an old thread.
I was in heaven this afternoon. I had tacos pastor and tacos lingua with freshly made tortillas and a creamy lime dressing.
Oh, yea... we were at El Sarape in Hartford. Now, this isn't the greatest neighborhood, but it isn't scary. They take credit cards and it is a regular restaurant with seating fo about 40-45 people. Its got all the cute, colorful, cheezy Mexican advertising/decoration stuff hanging around. Really cool! This is a place with no pretentions or interest in catering to gringos. I've been in a few places where you had trouble finding an employee who could speak english. No problem here, though. The drink specials and other homemade signage is in Spanish. The formal menu is in both Spanish and English or at least they explain what it is in English. But enough of that! On to the glorius food....
We had Negra Modelos. They have a good selection of beers. Where we had a problem was we asked for rioja-red wine-and he said he didn't have any. We did find a table ad for wines later. Perhaps they were just out.
We had fresh guacomole which was superior. I believe good guacomole is easy to do (and not a real test of culinary skills) and they passed with flying colors. I ordered a lingua and barbacoa taco. The filling was contained in a double wrap of succulent, tender, fresh tortillas. The meats were juicy and tender. These were just like I remembered them at a Dallas taqueria where the majority of customers were Mexican.
I ordered chile rellenos, but either he forgot or they were out. I didn't get them. So had chicken enchiladas poblano. They were outstandign and the rice and beans were very good. Beans were soupy with some texture and seasoned nicely, but not strongly flavored in any direction. Rice was not overcooked and did not have visible tomato, carrots or peas included. Truthfully, I could not have eaten the chile relleno.
We ordered two churros and they were made fresh while we waited. All throughthe meal, servicew was prompt and food came out in a normal amount of time for being freshly prepared.
We arrived at 1:30PM and there were not many customers. There was a lone gringo, finishing up. By the time we were about finished the place started to fill; all hispanic.
Folks, this is the real deal as I know it. Lots of authentic dishes on the menu.
Don't walk, but run to this place and get your fill!
Our bill came to $38.
931 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06106, (860) 547-1884

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  1. Here are some photos of our Mexican food massacre. I was in such a hurry to wolf this down that by the time I remembered I had a camera I/we had alredy dug in.
    I said, "So had chicken enchiladas poblano." I meant SO (significat other). That is some wonderful tomatillo sauce bating the enchilidas and nice crumbly cheese on the enchilidas and beans. Note: NOT ANY melted Monterrey Jack or yellow cheese anywhere to be found! I didn't really mention the salsa and chips: fresh chips and two salsas; tomatillo, which was spectacular with little heat and a fresca salsa with mostly somewhat large chunks of good tomato and no heat (!). The food was so good I did not think much about heat. I'm sure they have something if you ask.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Scargod

      Sr Caricole de dios, Look out your window, I'm already there! El pastor? Gotta check out the rellenos. July?

      1. re: Passadumkeg

        Yes, amigo, Scargo is God (to you and Mexican food lovers). You must try out this place manana.

        1. re: Scargod

          Tex, & amigo, I said you were God of the snails, not Mexican food. Lingua, good, how about tripas tacos?

      2. re: Scargod

        One of the signs on the wall says,"Esteemed clients (patrons), the main income of your servers is your tip. If you get bad service, let the management know. If you get good service you can say thank you with a very nice tip".
        Thanks Marco for the interpretation. I couldn't get it all, by myself!

      3. Sounds good. The Mexican food in CT has gotten much better since the mid-90s for sure. There's a new place in Torrington called Las Delicious Latinas. The pozole was great when the weather was cold, and Simon does tamales, al pastore, menudo and all sorts of other nice dishes.

        1. I'm not sure if there's any connection, but Sarapes in Enfield also has the real deal. They're on route 5, (the actual address is 917 Enfield St.) in a little strip mall.

          3 Replies
          1. re: moskey

            Just talked to the Enfield restaurant and they are owned by the same family, have similar menus and same style of food. Woo-hoo! Another place to eat at when I'm going north! It's not far from Bradley Int'l. airport, either.

            1. re: Scargod

              Ooh, fascinating. I used to work in Hartford and went to El Sarape frequently. I would regularly order 2 tacos and 2 tamales for lunch because I couldn't decide. I love it there! I only recently heard about Sarapes in Enfield and it's definitely on my list--cool that they are owned by the same family.

            2. re: moskey

              Will have to try the Enfield location and get back to y'all.

            3. The original comment has been removed