Tacos El Manny is a taco destination worthy of Granite City

Tacos El Manny is a taco destination worthy of Granite City

One dish that I would not anticipate to want further sauce is torta ahogada. The specialty of Guadalajara, Mexico, is a pork sandwich “drowned” (ahogada) in sauce. If you eat a extremely good torta ahogada, just like the model served at Tacos El Manny in Granite Metropolis, the crusty bread in some way retains its form and even chews, and you may have the sandwich like another. You may usually be searching for the paper towel roll in your desk.

Tacos El Manny’s torta ahogada swims in a darkish pink tomato-based sauce with a tangy warmth that can tickle your palate however will not boring your forehead. After I ordered the sandwich, which is barely accessible Friday by Sunday, proprietor Carlos Rodriguez requested me if I actually appreciated spicy meals.

When a chef or restaurateur asks you this query, the one reply is sure.

Married duo Fabi Madrigal and Carlos Rodriguez personal Tacos El Manny on Nameoki Highway in Granite Metropolis on Friday, September 23, 2022. Photograph by Hillary Levin, [email protected]

Hillary Levin

Rodriguez introduced me a small squeeze bottle of a thinner, brighter pink sauce than the torta ahogada sauce. Powered by chile de árbol, it enlivens the entire torta and, alongside the garnish of pickled onions and a drizzle of recent lime juice, cuts down on the richness of carnitas-style pork and a skinny unfold of refried beans.

Folks additionally learn…

For those who love Mexican meals, you already know the way to take Interstate 55 Exit 4 in Illinois and head to Fairmont Metropolis, the place you may discover Mi Tierra Bonita, Tienda El Ranchito, Taqueria Mi Rodeo meals truck (the very best lengua tacos I’ve eaten within the metro space) and different standouts alongside Collinsville Highway. To search out Tacos El Manny, head the opposite means off Exit 4, previous World Large Know-how Raceway, by Madison to Granite Metropolis.

El Manny Tacos

The eating room at Tacos El Manny on Nameoki Highway in Granite Metropolis on Friday, September 23, 2022. Photograph by Hillary Levin, [email protected]

Hillary Levin

The restaurant occupies a modestly sized storefront: a eating room with the counter the place you pay, the kitchen move and the three coloured fountains that dispense aqua frescas. There may be an adjoining house that successfully doubles the house of the restaurant, nevertheless it’s principally empty. (Passing by this different house on the way in which to the bathroom, you may discover that it retains the ghost of an condominium structure, with a small kitchen and, in the bathroom, a bathe.)

Tacos El Manny debuted in late February. I discovered of its opening by a Fb submit by Minerva Lopez Montaigne, an entrepreneur and unparalleled champion of the Mexican Cherokee Avenue group. Lopez Montaigne died in June at age 60. I knew her principally from social media, though she as soon as stepped in — unsolicited, however a lot appreciated — to assist translate a dialog between me and a Cherokee Avenue restaurateur. When she talked about a brand new restaurant on Fb, I took discover. I hope this overview pays a modest however heartfelt tribute to its influence.

El Manny Tacos

A torta sandwich with pork al pastor at Tacos El Manny on Nameoki Highway in Granite Metropolis on Friday, September 23, 2022. Photograph by Hillary Levin, [email protected]

Hillary Levin

That is the primary restaurant of Rodriguez and his spouse, Fabi Madrigal. Rodriguez beforehand labored as a roofer. He opened a restaurant, he instructed me in a phone interview, as a result of he now not needed to be a roofer. The menu of tacos, tortas and small quesadillas nods to Rodriguez’s hometown of Guadalajara and the broader Mexican state of Jalisco. There’s the particular weekend torta ahogada, and there is all the time the birria, the Jalisco dish that has change into essential sensation.

Positive, you may order quesabirria, the tender beef smoothed with melted cheese that spills out of a crispy tortilla, however the birria itself is obtainable in taco and torta kind, and tucked into corn tortillas. with cilantro, onion and a contact of the home pink or inexperienced salsas, the meat reveals the deeply meaty taste and crispy texture of its lengthy cooking. The quesabirria features a small cocotte cup for dipping and sipping; whereas not as silky as some eating places, it offers the quesabirria a welcome jagged edge of warmth and spice.

Whereas I’ve loved the birria growth right here and elsewhere, cabeza is the reduce of beef that has change into my favourite taco order. Right here, the cabeza is especially succulent. I wish to think about the taquero gently draping the meat over the tortillas such as you would a slice of prosciutto over a wedge of melon. Its fatty richness is as satisfying, on a smaller scale, as a well-marbled rib-eye.

El Manny Tacos

A platter of tacos (left to proper: al pastor with pineapple, steak and rooster), served with chili toreados and grilled onions, at Tacos El Manny on Nameoki Highway in Granite Metropolis. Photograph by Hillary Levin, [email protected]

Hillary Levin

Tacos El Manny does not simply serve beef. There are small however plump shrimp that retain their buttery sweetness even after you drizzle them with salsa. Pork al pastor affords the anticipated sweetness of pineapple, but in addition the distinct style of meat marinade, harking back to vinegar or garlic (or each). Nonetheless, I preserve craving cabeza and birria right here, in addition to suadero: the pale veal reduce near the cow’s stomach that is fashionable in Mexico however largely ignored within the U.S. Minimize into small items, the pink meat has a pleasant, flavorful chew much like flank steak.

The menu right here is compact sufficient to suit on one web page (Spanish on one aspect, English on the opposite). You may add an order of choriqueso (fundido type on a plate, not a dip), or it can save you house for the assortment of paletas displayed in a freezer by the counter. Not selfmade however an area product, these shall be an particularly interesting antidote while you’ve generously seasoned your torta ahogada with that aspect of sizzling sauce.

The place Tacos El Manny, 2800 Nameoki Highway, Granite Metropolis • Extra data 618-219-2858; facebook.com/TacosElMannyKitchen Tacos, tortas and quesadillas • Hours Lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday)

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