Plenty of new restaurants slipped in under the radar in 2014, and one of them was a 24-hour spot for Mexican food with fancy decor (leather couches, wrought iron fixtures, antique mirrors), an impressive selection of tequila and specialty cocktails and a dedication to sourcing only organic, GMO-free meat, produce and dairy (from Earthbound Farm, Portico Simply, Sunfed Ranch and other purveyors).
You may not have discovered El Dorado Cantina yet because of its odd location at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club on Industrial Road. Is it worth a visit? Well, are you up for the challenge of seriously spicy tableside ghost chili salsa ($12)? Have you ever eaten habanero-sauteed grasshoppers ($7.50)?
Certainly some of El Dorado’s dishes are unusual, but the majority of the menu is familiar Mexican fare crafted with care and those quality, responsible ingredients. A traditional pozole is smoky and rich, pepped up when you mix in some of the roasted arbol salsa serve on the side. Gorditas ($8) are a satisfying appetizer, crispy corn masa pockets stuffed with chicken or steak, guacamole, salsa and queso fresco.
Street-style tacos ($9.50) are served in a hearty three-pack with rice and beans, filled with carnitas, al pastor, pulled chicken, carne asada or achiote-marinated pork. For a more refined taco plate, citrus-grilled mahi with cabbage and mango salsa ($12.50) is the way to go.
The menu is vast, including burritos, tortas, salads, enchiladas, meat-based entrees like fajitas, pork mole verde ($19.50) or shrimp aguachiles ($17.50), and even some breakfast specialties served all day. After all, a big plate of hangover-crushing chilaquiles might be the best idea after you’ve spent some time next door.
El Dorado Cantina 3025 S. Industrial Road, 702-722-2289. 24/7.