Mar 062010
 

Cuisine: Authentic Mexican, Fish & Seafood
Restaurant Features: Counter Service, Live Music, Market, On Site Parking,
Location: St Paul, MN (District del Sol)
Address: 175 Cesar Chavez St. St. Paul, MN 55107   651-227-2192

Mercado Hours: Mon-Sat 7a-9p    Sun 7a-8p
Links: El Burrito Website * El Burrito Mercado on FacebookGoogle Map



Atmosphere: El Burrito is not only located within the heart of St Paul’s Westside “District del Sol”, but is arguably the “Heart” itself.  El Burrito Mercado is the place to go for anything you would need for preparing Mexican Cuisine and located within is also a wonderful little restaurant.

The Express Restaurant is open all day and offers counter service.  This is where you must order breakfast and lunch.

There are a couple of tables in the seating areas near the service line, if you’d like to take in the action of the Mercado around you, otherwise there is a great dining room tucked around the corner to the back.  The room is decorated more like a traditional Mexican restaurant with tiled floors, earth-colored walls and royal blue accents.  The walls are hung with Mexican artwork.  The Restaurant offers table service at dinner only.

There is a self-service bakery counter in the middle of the Mercado, near the restaurant.

El Burrito Mercado has just about anything you would find in a market in Mexico.  They have a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, a variety of Mexican cheeses, creams, chorizo, a big selection of meats and seafood, corn and flour tortillas, and a large selection of imported non-perishable groceries.  I discovered you can even buy mango flavored lollipops that are coated in chili! (However after trying one, I do NOT recommend)

Express Menu: Items are served with Mexican or Cilantro Rice, Frijoles Ranchera, Fried Pinto Beans or Fried Black Beans.  Includes Burrito Original (filled with choice of meat, beans, rice and cheese), Burrito Ahogado (burrito smothered in sauce and cheese then baked), Burro Gigante (2 ft burrito!), Tamal en Hoja Platano, Tamales, Milanesa (thin chicken or steak breaded and fried), Torta Minnesota, Torta Mexico, Quesadilla, Tacos, Nachos Supremos.

Meat choices include Puerco en Verde, Barbacoa (shredded beef), Birria (shredded beef in spice and chile), Carnitas (shredded pork), Pollo Mexicano, Pechuga de Pollo, Carne Asada (marinated steak), and Cecina (thin, cured steak).

Restaurant Dinner Menu: Appetizers include Chips & Salsa, Chipotle Chicken Wings, Chicken Flautas, Quesadilla, Fiesta Chicharron, Chips with Guacamole and Pico de Gallo, Molletas (bread with beans and cheese), and Queso Fundidio (melted Mexican cheeses).

Salads include Nopalitos (sliced cactus, onion, tomato, cilantro and jalapeno vinaigrette), Verde con Cilantro Aderezo (romaine with cilantro vinaigrette), Chicaharron (pork rinds on top), and Caesar Salad.

Entree Specials that are made with Masa (corn) include Gorditas (small thick tortilla made with corn dough), Quesadillas made with Corn dough (and choice of meat), Huarache (corn dough fried and topped with beans and choice of meat) and Sopes (corn dough fried and topped with meat).

Beef Entrees include Carne a la Tampiquena, Carne Asada, Molcajete de Carnes Mixtas (steak, chicken, pork, carnitas, cactus, chorizo), Bistec Mexicano, Puntas de Bistec, Lomo Salteado, and Sizzling Fajitas.

Pork Entrees include Chuleta de Puerco Relleno, Carnitas en Comal, and Cochnito Pibil (slow roasted pork served in a banana leaf).

Chicken Entrees include Enchiladas, Chicken Mole, Pechuga de Pollo en Crema Poblana and Fajitas Tropical en Molcajete.

Vegetarian Entrees include Roasted Chili Poblano, Beans & Cheese Tamales and Vegetable Fajitas.

Fish & Seafood Entrees include Pescado en Hoja Platano (tilapia served in plantain leaf), Pescado Empanizado, Tilapia Veracruzana, Camarones a la Diabla (shrimp in spicy sauce), Camarones al Mojo de Ajo (shrimp in garlic butter), Camarones a la Mexicana, Camarones Envuelto en Tocino Relleno de Queso y Chipotle (shrimp filled with cheese and wrapped with bacon), Tacos de Camron y Queso, Coctel de Camaron, Ceviche de Camaron (lime cured shrimp mixed with pico de gallo), and Ceviche de Aquachile.

All items on express menu can also be ordered from Dinner Menu.

Dessert items at El Burrito include Tres Leches Cake, Mango Cheesecake, Chili Powder and Chocolate Flourless Cake, Flan, Homemade Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries, Gelatina, and Chocolate Cinnamon Cheesecake.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-7 Salads $4-5  Masa $7  Meat Entrees $8-10  Seafood & Fish $11  Desserts $4-5  Express Restaurant Entrees $7
What we ordered: I was really at a loss of how to order, so I went with the Barbacoa Plate with a side of corn tortillas(3).  I was given a very generous heaping pile of tender, shredded beef which I wanted to make tacos with.  There was enough to make 5 or 6 tacos! The plate comes standard with lettuce and tomato but I also asked for cilantro and onions, and shredded cheese.  The meat was really good and the rice and beans were decent (good but nothing too special, kind of on the boring-side).  The corn tortillas were small, hot and fresh.  I liked that they has a salsa bar and tried both green and red.  I liked both but the red just wasn’t spicy enough for me (I like HOT), the green was slightly more spicy.

My companion ordered a Quesadilla con Carnitas, which came with a generous serving of beans and rice.  The Quesadilla was made with a couple of large flour tortillas, grilled to a bubbly, golden brown and filled with melted Mexican cheeses and tender shredded pork.  Lettuce and chopped tomatoes were served on top.


Service: The line at the restaurant was fairly long at lunch time, but moved very quickly.  I basically told them what I wanted and they prepared my order in front of me within minutes.  Depending on what you order, some foods like quesadillas and enchiladas take a little longer to prepare.  There was a self-service salsa bar and drink station at the end of the line.  When we finished our meals we weren’t sure if we were supposed to bus our own trays or not but they did have a couple of servers who came and bussed our table for us.  The restaurant offers table-service only at dinner.
Overall Impression: I thought the food was pretty good and reasonably priced but the atmosphere was what made the visit memorable.  It is enjoyable to browse around the market and purchase items that you would not find at your local Cub or Rainbow stores.  El Burrito is Mexican-Cooking Heaven!! I look forward to warmer seasons and the Corn Roast they have outside El Burrito on the weekends. I also want to go back to the Restaurant for dinner and order off the menu! Live Music on weekend evenings!
El Burrito Mercado on Urbanspoon

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