The next time you’re driving north of downtown on Main and headed towards the stockyards, before you get to that other world famous Mexican place and NW 20th St., be sure to glance left to behold a bright Orange Oasis of Tex-Mex Nirvana called “El Asadero”. I’ve probably been to El Asadero over 20 times in the last year and tried at least 10 different plates on the menu and I absolutely love them all. This review, now long overdue, is a token of gratitude to one of my favorite Mexican Restaurants in all of Cowtown.
A lot of picky reviewers or inexperienced Tex-Mex Palates may tell you otherwise, but simply put, don’t believe them. This is not a fancy place. This is not a touristy place. This is not a place with exceptional overbearing service. This is not an expensive place either. If you want to overpay for overpriced underwhelming Mexican food you have plenty of other options in town (Cantina Laredo, Mi Cocina, On the Border???). But if you want to pay as little as $5.99 for a DINNER that includes the absolute best Chips and Salsa in Fort Worth, then come here. To be clear, I love Uncle Julio’s, Joe T Garcia’s, and Salsa Fuego as well. These are easily my top 4 Mexican in Fort Worth. But when I don’t feel like paying $15 a plate for Mexican food... El Asadero is the only place that will do.
No matter what meal you choose, it is guaranteed to be good because of the chips and salsa. This is your fair warning though, the salsa is not for beginners or fans of “mild” Pace Picante. This is the real deal and it is HOT. I’m of the “hotter the better” persuasion so this may be a bit biased, but bare with me. The color, texture, and heat are simply perfect. There’s no other way to put it. If your nachos are so-so? Add salsa. If your enchiladas need kick? Add salsa. If you run out of cream for your morning coffee, add salsa. If you get stung by a bee in the parking lot…rub some of their salsa on the wound and be healed. If you are a police interrogator talking a man down from a ledge, give them some of this salsa! It will give them a reason to go on living. I’m serious, it’s that good. This is the best salsa in Fort Worth, and their chips are the perfect compliment.
I’m also a bit biased towards El Asadero because I love “Ranchero” sauces. It should come as no surprise then that my 2 favorite things on the menu are the “Tacos Rancheros” ($5.99) and the “Bistec Ranchero” ($10.99). The Tacos Rancheros are not what you might first expect and anything but a traditional “taco”. They are actually rolled like an enchilada, and then topped with their fabulous Ranchero sauce. It’s spicy, zesty, chunky, wholesome, and everything that’s good about Texas and Mexican food. The Bistec Ranchero has a generous portion of tender chuck steak pieces also marinated in, yep, you guessed it…Ranchero sauce. If I’m seriously hungry, it’s my go to because it’s a big plate. What’s great about this dish is you can specify how hot you want it. Fellow spice nuts rejoice!
Don’t be fooled by my love of salsa and ranchero, El Asadero has phenomenal beef fajitas and nachos as well. Their fajita meet rivals anywhere in town on flavor and tenderness, and that includes Uncle Julio’s and Joe T’s. If you know what I’m talking about, Uncle Julio’s beef fajitas while delicious can be a bit tough to eat or “chew” or “bite through” which makes a mess. Joe T’s uses smaller chunks of beef that are also delicious. El Asadero is right in the middle, not too big, not too small, just perfectly seasoned, tender, and delicious. The girlfriend’s favorite dish is the Fajita Nachos with steak. If they ever start offering a half order of these like the rest of their nachos, she may start wanting to go here more than I do which is saying something. I like their “Joshua’s Special” nachos that have beans, ground beef, cheese, and enchilada sauce for only $5.29! Or the Supremos with beans, ground beef, cheese, and guacamole for only $7.99. I have not yet tried any of the Mariscos (seafood) or Puerco (pork), but I’m dying to on my next visit. Maybe they’ll give me a side of Ranchero sauce in case I start going through withdrawals?
In closing, I really do love this place and love the great value that it offers. Yes, their service can be a bit lacking at times, but that is almost to be expected from a family owned hole-in-the-wall joint such as this. Sometimes they forget to bring you silverware. Sometimes they don’t refill my bowl of salsa as fast as I would like (which is no small task with how I eat that stuff). But their same staff is always very friendly and I always get my food fast. I love their huge glasses of water or iced tea (places just don’t do that any more, even in Fort Worth). I love that you can seat yourself and pick any open table you want. I also love that when you’re ready to pay, you just walk up to the register. You don’t have to wait around for a waitress to bring the bill. They also have one of the best Mexican beer selections anywhere. Sol, Carta Blanca, Bohemia, Corona Familiar (the huge bottle), stuff you typically can’t get outside of Playa del Carmen. Go for lunch, go for dinner, just go. Try their salsa then send me hate mail if I’m wrong. Chances are you’ll thank me. PARKING: They only have 4 or 5 spaces in their tiny lot, so you’re usually better off parking on the right side of main (in front of Fort Worth Mercado and Coyote Legal) then carefully crossing the street. Hope to see you there. I’ll be the guy potentially licking an empty bowl of salsa with chip crumbs on my face. Don’t judge me.
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