There is a growing trend in Indy to erect buildings with a relatively small footprint that has retail spaces on the ground floor and rental residence on upper floors. The structure that Loco is in is one of these mixed use buildings. I think it has been around about three years. The bottom floor has a Mashcraft tasting room and Loco. I believe that it has been there since the beginning. The space that houses Loco has had a sort of revolving door on it; as far as tenants are concerned. That is one reason I was eager to go here. I wanted to see the place if they were gone in 6 months.
I ordered their Chile Colorado plate for $11. That is skirt steak simmered in a red chile and served with rice, salad, avocado and some flour tortillas to build your own mini burritos. The first thing you notice is the size of the meal. Neither one of our dishes were skimpy. Even Pat’s lunch special, which was only $8.
I thought my Chile Colorado was excellent. The chile sauce had that wonderful earthiness of a red chile pod sauce. Even the rice; which is normally just a spear carrier in a Mexican meal had a personality of its own. The meat was abundant and had just a slight chew to it. Which is to be expected of skirt steak. I would do it again. However there are so many other things I would like to try.
One more thing I had to try.
Yes that is a Frozen Margarita. A 27 ounce one for $9. I have not had one in over 30 years. I still have no idea why I ordered one today. It was okay but I prefer my ritas to be up or on the rocks.
Frozen cocktails aside I think this joint has a staying quality the other places didn’t have. It is a beautiful place with a nice patio and they serve kids. Something I think the neighbors might appreciate. I will be back.
Now isn’t that a lovely name. Rolls off the tongue doesn’t it. Pat and I are late to the party for this joint, judging from the number of Blog posts. But here we are.
The place was open in 1960 and the dining rooms reflect that era well. Except for the one masonry and brick wall and the exposed duct work
As soon as you are seated you are given two small bowls of salsa and a grand bowl of pickled carrot and peppers.
The carrot and chiles were excellent. Either eaten out of hand or put in your sandwich. Since they offered no chips I assume the salsa was intended as condiments. Based upon the amount of tiny seeds I figured the green salsa was a tomatillo sauce. It was so so. As for the red it was a red pod puree. Slight heat and a wonderful earthiness that dried red chiles give. However they were not strained. I wasn’t taught that way, so I really didn’t dig it.
They offer tamales, tacos and quessadillas. But their main bag are tortas. Mexican style sandwiches.
Their menu has the sandwiches identified by nationality, number or celebrity. They also have a build your own category. That’s what Pat opted for.
I required steak and chorizo. So I ordered # 22. The Mexican. Grilled steak,chorizo,avocado, cilantro and bell peppers topped with mozzarella cheese. Very, very good. With all the stuff offered on the sandwich it could have been huge. This sandwich was a wonderful example of proportion. A great filling to bread ratio. The bread was nicely crusted and the interior had just the right amount of fluffiness. I love their bread. I loved this sandwich. Of course you all know that. I mean their spot on the Spoon shows a 94% approval. And all those bloggers? Well. As I said we were late. Don’t you be late. This joint is legit. Excellent sandwiches. They also have a great collection of Jarritos. So. Your move.
Pat and Fran tried this place out on Labor Day, and they both liked it. Good food, good prices and cheap beer. Actually I was a little apprehensive about the joint because, frankly the reviews on Urbanspoon were not too positive. I don’t rely entirely upon reviews to decide on what joint to try, but if the majority of comments are negative you probably should take notice. As I mentioned in an extraneous posting regarding reviews I checked for dates. One was June this year and the remaining negative tales were in 2013. The listing showed a few positive reviews in 2012 and 2011. So maybe the issue is time sensitive. Restaurants are not static. They develop and grow in time. And since they are all built around people you never know what to expect. My job is to visit a joint with my buddy Pat. Eat a lunch and give our thoughts on the food and service. We do so in a matter of fact way. We eat, we write you decide.
The place is a pretty good size. It has a few hand painted murals that fit a Mexican theme, and the surroundings and furniture are pretty comfortable. As soon as we walked in we were approached by a server/ host that directed us to a table. In a few minutes we had our water and chips and salsa.
Now I found this salsa to be excellent. Fresh tomatoes, jalapeno and cilantro. I also enjoyed that they offered yellow tortilla chips. Not the red,white and blue chips that seem to be so common in some joints.
On Thursday they offer the Super Donkey burro for $7.99. Now this is a huge flour tortilla stuffed with steak or chicken, beans,rice,pico- de Gallo, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and sour cream. Now that is one big boy. You have your choice of 3 sauces. Green, red or cheese. Pat ordered an altered chicken Super Donkey, with cheese sauce.
Since Pat ordered chicken, I ordered steak with red and green sauce. The tomatillo sauce was spicy and definitely on point. They make it in-house, and it definitely hit the spot. The steak was a little chewy but with all the stuff going on it was definitely worth ordering. The red chile was warm and comforting. All in all a very tasty combination.
Even though neither one of us could finish our burros we decided to share a sopaipilla. Now in New Mex and the part of Old Mex I lived, the sopaipilla I have eaten have been like big fluffy pillows. The kind you tear and add honey to. This sopa was flat,like a tostada. Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, shot with honey and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Cut in four pieces and topped with whipped cream. Wow. It was good. Not what I expected. But good. And the crazy thing was $1.99. You can also get it with ice cream.
So. There you have it, our review,our opinion of El Arada. We think it is worth trying. Bon Appetite.