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Dec 26, 2011 05:45 PM

Tried Mestizo “Mexican Soul Food” in Warren [DTW]...

...and it is the most authentic Mexican within ten miles in any direction (32500 Van Dyke just south of 14 Mile). But, perhaps that is nothing over which to get too excited? In any event, I ordered the following:

1. Carnitas tacos

2. Arrachera tacos (beef marinated in beer, onions, garlic and “secret” spices)

3. Pastor tacos (marinated pork with grilled pineapple; though, I saw no pineapple)

The taco accompaniment options I chose were corn tortillas and no cheese (I didn’t know queso fresco was a choice until after I ordered). The tacos are 2 for $2.50—a good value—and were garnished with fresh cilantro and (too much) chopped onion. All the meats were julienne in size and were thoroughly fried such that one could hardly be distinguished from the next. But, how can tastebuds disparage tender fried meat on a warm tortilla with fresh herbage and homemade salsa??

I was given four salsas by the personable and nice looking hired help. This appreciated gesture probably is above and beyond policy. The regular tomato salsa was not good. Huh? Anyway, the avocado-ish tomatillo mild salsa was nice, and the habanero salsa was very nice. The fourth salsa was a freaky heavily smoked apple sauce concoction bearing a slight kick. I appreciated the creativity. Yes, the tacos were consumed with pleasure but they were a clear cut below, while structurally comparable to, those from Taqueria Alameda, etc..

The interior of the joint is quite nice, particularly considering the exteriors of its neighboring businesses. It was opened a couple weeks ago by a minister (and his/her spouse?) who also takes the lead in the kitchen. Alcohol is not served, needless to say. The minister is Mexican-American and apparently was raised in the American South. Thus, the term soul food plays a double meaning, in that this Southern minister also serves ribs, pulled pork and deep fried catfish. Frankly, the host and waitress* were a bit evasive and/or clueless when I grilled them about this offbeat ownership. Yet another reason for me to return: intel’ gathering. Not to mention, January will be their 10% off Grand Opening specials. *The waitress said “minister” rather than “priest,” so I’m just going with it.

Maybe next time I’ll try their nopales tacos (prickly pear cactus pad flesh), ceviche or empanadas. I’m going to take a pass on their barbecue. No other good Mexican is around (El Charro truly is a fun pig-out, but is not good Mexican; La Palapa at Hall near Van Dyke arguably also has some high points), however there IS good barbecue not too far, given that RUB now is a couple miles away and Lazybones ain’t much further. PS—Thank you to Sir Boagman for letting me steal from his ethereal restaurant review syntax, while banging out this preceding report.

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  1. Thank you for the report, vtb. Would you mind sharing the high points at La Palapa?

    2 Replies
    1. re: tokyo

      Hi Tokyo, You’ve kind of called me out here…I was sloppy in suggesting La Palapa has some bad dishes and some good dishes, and that I know which are which. To more accurately convey, I would say that I can see how some people may be fans of La Palapa (LP) while others may see no redeeming qualities about the place.

      Although LP is terrible for my diet, I kind of like the place. Sure, it primarily just serves the same beef and chicken taco/enchilada fare as does Don Pablo’s, but LP’s dishes don’t smack of a corporate kitchen laboratory. Most of the customers (not to mention family ownership) are of Mexican heritage and seem to work in the trades (construction, landscaping, etc.). LP’s cheap food has more of a home-like flavor to it, as if Abuela and Tia went to Sam’s Club for ingredients and then whipped up big batches of modest grub for a casual (extended) family lunch on the plastic patio chairs. One more disclaimer—it probably has been a couple years since my last visit (I’ve been more good).

      Gan911, Thanks for the reminder! I just noticed that counter (in Tienda Mexicana) the other day, while going in to Wen’s Kitchen Supply Store. I don’t think they had a food counter last year. If you like Tienda Mexicana, as also apparently does jjspw, then it surely must be worth a go!

      1. re: VTB

        Thanks vtb, I totally get what you're saying. Useful info, nonetheless.

    2. there's a mexican market in the fuji market complex that has a small taco joint in the can get a jarritos, tacos/torta, and a paleta for under 10 bucks

      1 Reply
      1. re: gan911

        Super Taco in Tienda Mexicana in the Fuji market. What a great find. Very clean and cheap! The quesadilla el pastor was darn near a pizza for $2.50. The cheese tamale was over nuked but the edible bit was very tasty. Not really a destination but if you are near 13 & John R it's worth a stop. And Wen's has expanded (much cleaner now too).

      2. Speaking of Barbecue in that area there is a second location of Bad Brads opening on 23 Mile west of Van Dyke. Have not been to BB 1 but have heard good things. Also if you ever get a little further north about 29 1/2 and Van Dyke there is an awesome little Taqueria across from the Chevy Dealer. Very authentic Mexican street food and cheap. They used to run a food truck by the same name in the area on the weekends.

        Taqueria El Michoacano
        64075 Van Dyke Rd, Washington, MI 48095