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El RodeoFast food wait; homestyle quality

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Recently, a friend of mine told me some good things about the local chain of El Rodeo restaurants that serve Mexican cuisine.

I expressed only polite interest because like many busy folks, I would usually “run for the border” and run through the line at Taco Bell. Unless a business lunch or date was involved, Taco Bell seemed sufficient for typical staples, such as tacos and nachos.

That was until I decided to try El Rodeo, specifically, the location at 9546 Allisonville Rd. At El Rodeo, customers are served with the convenience of Taco Bell’s pace, but can enjoy fine, authentic Mexican cuisine with “sit-down restaurant” service.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into as I took one of the comfortable seats at El Rodeo (pronounced like El-Ro-Day-O), which (as you can guess) means “the rodeo.”

Since it was my first time being at “the rodeo,” I had to tread carefully while reviewing the menu; this stuff is the real deal.

I decided on the hot and spicy burrito, something that would surely be flavorful and not bland (having bland food is awful, like eating spackle or white wall mixture.)

As I waited a short time for my order, I noticed that a couple seated near me had what the waiter later told me is the nachos al carbon, a massive $10 entrée for two or three people that includes nachos covered with cheese alongside steak, chicken, shrimp, lettuce and pico de gallo.

It looked good and tempting, but I wasn’t about to be that greedy. Before I knew it, the spicy burrito had arrived. Would this be a real man’s dish, or a wimpy imitation of a traditional favorite?

Immediately, it became apparent that I had no reason to worry. The spicy burrito was indeed very flavorful and satisfying. It is basically a folded flour tortilla with beef on one side, chicken on the other, giving you the best of both worlds. Rice and beans are also in the burrito, with salsa, cheese, sour cream and beef tips placed on top and around it. Every delicious bite was enjoyable.

Judging by what I saw on plates being carried around by the staff, other popular choices include the salsa and chips, tamales, very large margaritas, the burrito marino (for seafood lovers) and the quesadilla rodeo.

El Rodeo, at least the Allisonville Road location, ended up being a good choice for several reasons: reasonable prices, a variety of options, generous portions and friendly service.

My only complaint is there is no El Rodeo location representing the Eastside of Indianapolis. I thought the whole West Coast vs. East Coast thing was settled in the ’90s, so why can’t us Eastsiders have our own El Rodeo?

Now is the time and today is the day to correct this injustice, and we should not rest until the dream of an Eastside El Rodeo becomes reality!

Seriously, however, whether the nearest El Rodeo is around the corner or on the other side of town, your trip would be well worth it.

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