Gas station grub: Chili Verde Express serves memorable Mexican in a strange setting

Chili Verde Express’ carne asada fries is perfect game-day food.
Photo: L.E. Baskow
Jason Harris

Guy Fieri missed at least one perfect Vegas spot for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, a gas station eatery with a die-hard fan base and some of the freshest, most flavorful Mexican food in town. Chili Verde Express is located inside the Choice gas station on Rainbow at Windmill. Chef Carlos Cervantes, who has cooked all over the western United States, is the heart here. He arrives at 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday to prepare food for the breakfast rush, and from 10 to 2, he has his wife Fabiola helping him out. After lunch, Carlos is on his own again until the place closes around 8.

You might have to wait a bit for your food, but it’s worth it. Cervantes cooks everything to order from a menu similar to familiar local taco shops, only way better. Take the chili relleno burrito. A fried pepper filled with gooey cheese is surrounded by rice, salsa, onions, cilantro and beans inside a crisped tortilla. It’s something you can get at almost any Mexican spot, but you’ll find yourself coming back to a gas station for this one.

His carne asada fries are the best I’ve had anywhere. No puny fries that can’t hold up to layers of toppings here. These crispy, thick fries are a great vessel for meat, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese. It’s perfect game-day food.

This is a man putting his soul into his cooking. Even if Fieri never finds this place, you’ll be happy you did.

Chili Verde Express 8095 S. Rainbow Blvd., 702-260-7758.

Tags: Dining, Food
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