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el grullo coming to Merced??

Agrippa Apr 26, 2009 06:59 PM

Drove by the now defunct 'Su Casa Mexican' restaurant in Merced the other day and saw a sign on the door saying 'El Gruense' tacos coming soon.
It sounds like the now legendary name and its many incarnations and owners are coming to Merced.
I will post a review when the place opens.

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  1. susancinsf Apr 26, 2009 08:50 PM

    will be right behind you! (Address for others who might want to check it out, is 1104 W. 16th St, Merced.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: susancinsf
      Agrippa Apr 26, 2009 09:54 PM

      Sorry, I totally flubbed on the name. It is something like 'El Grullense No. 5 Jalisco'

    2. susancinsf Jun 13, 2009 07:03 PM

      Agrippa: El Grullense is finally open, and I hope you report back if you make it there before I do! Would have stopped for a quick taco today, but we were on our way back from Costco, which meant we had fresh halibut in the car and had to get home...on a side note, there is no question: best seafood in Merced by far is at Costco. Never thought I'd become such a Costco fan, but hey, for halibut that is actually good (and good scallops too)....

      A friend had recommended Rancho San Miguel Market for seafood. Nah. Good for other stuff, (beef looked good and was cheap, tortillas are made on site, cheap produce, but the seafood looked anemic when I was there.) Rancho San Miguel does have some tacos and such for consumption on site; has anyone tried them?

      Yes, I know, combining threads. sorry. but let's face it, all five or so hounds in Merced will read all the threads... :-)

      -----
      Rancho San Miguel
      1930 Yosemite Pkwy, Merced, CA

      7 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf
        t
        tavmark Jun 16, 2009 11:58 AM

        FWIW (not much probably :))

        There is a big sign going NB on 99 for this place (somewhere between Chowchilla and Merced.)

        1. re: tavmark
          susancinsf Jul 9, 2009 09:56 PM

          adding a link...

          -----
          Tacos El Grullense
          1106 W 16th St, Merced, CA

        2. re: susancinsf
          susancinsf Jul 9, 2009 09:55 PM

          It took a while, but I finally got to El Grullense. (No.3). It's a taqueria, order at the counter, large indoor seating area with ac, or you can get the food to go. When we went at 6:30 or so tonight the place was empty, which was a bit disconcerting.

          Fairly standard menu, with your choice of any of the meats in a combo plate, tacos, burritos or sopes. They have several agua frescas and a soda machine. Didn't see any Mexican sodas, unfortunately. Beer is advertised but not available; they may not have their license yet. Available meats included chile verde, carne asada, pollo, carnitas, al pastor, cabeza, lengua and tripas...

          Three of us ordered combo plates of carne asada, carnitas and chile verde. I also got a sope of al pastor. Combos are about $7, and come with a large stack of tortillas, rice, choice of refried or whole beans, meat, a salad (If you can call it that: it was lettuce with a bit of tomato.)

          Meats are kept in a steam table, and the tortillas are out of a bag (and then griddled.).. When I saw that, I wasn't expecting much...

          but then our plates came out: each combo came with a gorgeous side small plate loaded with chopped cilantro and onion, some great pickled zanahorias (carrots) and a small portion of both red and green salsa. The green was spicy and delicious, red perhaps a bit milder.

          The carne asada was eh. Carnitas were joicy and flavorful, but no crispy ends. The al pastor was also good, though not spectacular. I did think the base of the sope was nicely cooked compared to some versions I have had lately. Thesope also had lettuce, some cheese, jalapeno and crema.

          However, the hit of the evening was the chile verde, which was spicy and complex, with large tender chunks of pork. There is no question that this is the best in Merced; it may be the best I've had in California. El Grullense is worth a stop for the chile verde alone. This makes sense to me given the setting: a dish with stewed meat like chile verde would hold up better to the steam table treatment than most of the offered meats.

          Total for three combo plates with all the sides, one sope, three large sodas and lots of tortillas was about $30. Good sized portions, but not huge, though we did have some leftovers.

          Recommended, especially for sopes and chile verde. Or perhaps for the best of both: a sope with chile verde. (but ask for it without the lettuce and perhaps without the cheese; don't want to hide that great flavor).

          1. re: susancinsf
            Agrippa Jul 12, 2009 05:14 PM

            Susan,
            Thanks for the review. I'll have to try that chile verde.
            BTW, we've been going to Mariannas a lot for Mexican food.
            Although the fare is pretty standard, we find the food fresher, more consistent, and less greasy than the other places.

            1. re: Agrippa
              susancinsf Jul 12, 2009 09:03 PM

              thanks, and yes, I am going to have to give Mariana's another shot: went once, thought it was ehh, but everyone I know who has gone liked it much more than I did. It is on the list to try again.

              -----
              Mariana's Mexican Grill
              3368 N State Highway 59, Merced, CA 95348

              1. re: susancinsf
                Agrippa Jul 14, 2009 09:38 PM

                I keep it simple at Marianas, crispy carne asada tacos, they also do good shrimp enchiladas (flour tortilla, green sauce).

                1. re: susancinsf
                  susancinsf Aug 23, 2009 09:28 PM

                  update on Mariana's: son and hubby and I went today. They were out of the carnitas (weekends only). Sigh. I had a combo with a sope, which was emh (the ones at El Grullense were definitely better!), and a chicken enchilada verde which was surprisingly good (flavorful, moist grilled chicken and a decent verde sauce). Hubby got a chile relleno, which was waayyyy too eggy and I think used a canned chile, though it was a bit hard to be sure under all that egg. Also a pass.

                  The hit of the night, however, was son's Molcajete. easily enough for two (and only about $11), served with tortillas, pico de gallo and good guacamole on the side, and some grilled onions hanging over the side of the molcajete. The sauce for the molcajete was green, but deeper and more complex than the sauce on the enchiladas (more like a mole), and best of all, truly spicy. Son loved it, even though he did note (accurately enough) that it was heavier on sauce than on meat. He was happy to take home leftovers. Definitely one of the better dishes I've been served in a Merced Mexican restaurant, and a very good value.

                  I'll be back for the molcajete and possibly the chicken enchiladas.

                  Service was fairly inexperienced, though prompt enough, and after tasting that molcajete sauce I wasn't in a mood to complain. I'd recommend it.

          2. Agrippa Jul 18, 2009 05:33 PM

            After Susan's review of the new 'El Grullense Taco Shop' in Merced, I thought I would swing by and try their tacos. I ordered a carne asada and chile verde taco, and I found both to be 'Mas or Menos' or average. Merced needs another marginal Mexican restaurant as much as it needs another foreclosed home, the carne asada was too salty and the salsa tasted funky, while the chile verde was somewhat flavorless, nor did I like the pink color of the pork. I also ordered a Horchata, which was pretty good, but EXTREMELY SWEET, like syrupy sweet, but it better than most of the watered down horchatas I've had.
            Neither of the tacos made me want to return, I'll stick to the taco truck at Gst & 15th (or Ramon's in Planet X:Planada).

            On a separate note, I will recommend the carne asada tortas at 'Ostioneria Guadalajara' in the same center, but stay far away from their Mariscos, its ironic the place is more famous for its tortas than its seafood, but then again we're in Merced :).

            Susan, I agree Costco has the best seafood, they had some beautiful shrimps a while back. And the food at Rancho San Miguel is ok, I found it a little greasy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Agrippa
              susancinsf Jul 18, 2009 05:58 PM

              oh, it is too bad that you didn't like the chile verde (though the pork was not pink when I had it; I wonder if you got a batch that hadn't stewed long enough?) I thought it had lots of good flavor. OTOH, the carne asada wasn't too salty (in fact it was rather bland), and I thought the salsas were fine (especially the green, the red wasn't that special) so it could be that consistency is not a strong suit. Otherwise, our tastes have to be different, as I really did like and plan on going to go back for more chile verde, (so will report back.)

              Costco often has good scallops too. And good prices. the halibut is consistently very nice there. My last visit I got some very good (and reasonably priced) wild sockeye salmon filets.

            2. susancinsf Dec 30, 2011 06:23 PM

              Update: El Grullense is no more; noticed when driving by today on my way to Costco that it is now a new place with a new name...Mauricio's Grill I *think*, but don't quote me on that. Will try and stop by soon, although I am increasingly disheartened by the quality of Mexican food in Merced (with a few exceptions, Asian is more reliably good. Never imagined that could be the case before I moved here, which just shows how much I had to learn about the Central Valley, or this corner of it, anyway)

              One of the recent meals that added to my discouragement: Tacos Villa, sort of behind the Merced Mall near Lane Furniture. Definitely to be avoided....

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