El Camino

Hola, El Camino opened less than a year ago in Pineapple Grove just off Atlantic Ave in Delray, a bustling restaurant corridor. I have wanted to try it, and the other night, Stef and I gave it a go, and we absolutely loved it. In San Diego, there is a similar joint, also called El Camino (go ahead, see for yourself), which we also love. Not sure if they are owned by the same folks.

Anyhow, the Delray location is really stunning. It is made to look like an old warehouse (without being cheesy and covered in Mariachi stuff or other Mexican cliches) somewhere in the dusty southwest, down to the “reclaimed” lighting and exposed brick and concrete. A very long and tall bar flanks one side of the restaurant, and displays what looks like 500 different bottles of tequila. A small open kitchen is along the back wall, and the remainder is a mix of booths and tabletops. It is a relatively small restaurant, and on a Tuesday night in July, there was an hour wait for a table. This is still the “hot spot” on Atlantic Ave. Most of the other restaurants nearby (The Office, Park Tavern, etc) were not as busy.

So, on to the food and drink. Get a margarita. They are really well done. Served in a low ball glass and adorned with a lime wedge skewered on a stirrer, so you can squeeze your lime and then stir it into your drink in one fluid motion (I don’t know why but I was really impressed by this). Upon sitting, our server informed us that every Tuesday is $2 taco night. Choose as many tacos as you want from a list of 15 or so, mix and match, do whatever you like. I ordered fish, carnitas, “gringo” (ground beef), and pork belly. They were all very tasty, but the clear winner was the fish taco.

I hope they keep the $2 taco promo going past the summer months, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes away. Imagine this: after work happy hour crowd party of 12. Each guest orders one of these tacos, 2 of these tacos, 3 of these tacos, etc etc. I would imagine this would become quite a challenge for the kitchen. Years ago in my restaurant days, we ran a taco “football special” where you could mix and match tacos, choosing from only 3 or 4 different ones, and it really messed up the kitchen. The components for each taco came from multiple stations (fry, grill, pantry, etc) and the “back and forth” between cooks to compose each one became a real headache. The promo only lasted for a short time. A taco special remained, however you could not mix and match anymore, every taco order of three had to be all the same. Either way, I’m sure the El Camino kitchen is designed to make massive quantities of tacos, and are “set up for success.” When we were there the pace was relaxed and the vibe was really great. Lots of after work folks drinking and couples having dinner. We really liked this place and I think you will too-

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