There are hidden gems, and then there’s El Fresco’s, tucked away in a motel-turned-office building. As someone who relishes off-the-beaten-path treasures, I’m proud to trumpet its simple, spot-on fare. There’s nothing particularly unique about the menu; all your favorites are available, from street tacos and enchiladas to quesadillas and burritos. What makes this hole-in-the-wall stand out is the care in its preparations, evident from the moment house-made chips and sublime salsa verde hit the table.
Street tacos ($2.50 each) are lightly adorned to highlight your choice of protein, like the complex cochinita pibil, well-seasoned al pastor and smoky carne asada. The Fresco Max Tacos ($4) are a bit more gilded, with griddled cheese, pico de gallo and avocado slices. And for over-the-top deliciousness, venture toward the forearm-sized Super Fresco Max burrito ($9), which stuffs a lightly-griddled flour tortilla with meat, rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream. My favorite protein is the outrageously good cochinita, marinated and braised shredded pork prepared in a spicy citric marinade, although the asada is pretty memorable, too.
Chilaquiles ($6) are textbook, and definitely shell out the extra buck to add some pollo to the mix. The steak ranchero ($12.50) is a hit, topped with a red sauce rife with onions, peppers and jalapeños. But possibly best of all is El Fresco’s most celebrated dish, the shrimp tacos special ($14). Prepared with chipotle mayo, griddled cheese, shredded cabbage, sour cream and avocado, these oversized tacos are a gloriously delicious mess, with the charred shrimp serving as a foundation for the varying flavors.
El Fresco’s doesn’t have bargain basement prices, but the portions are generous. This family-run venue tends to have a somewhat fluid operating schedule, but don’t let that dissuade you from discovering some of our best local Mexican food.
El Fresco’s Mexican Cocina 5030 Paradise Road #B110, 702-816-5060. Monday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.