Driving around Redwood City, you may notice El Grullenses all over town; there's even a new one set to open on Woodside Road next week. I have no idea if they're all related to one another, but last night, Jon and I decided to pop into the El Camino Real location.
It wasn't too crowded -- maybe half-full? -- when we walked in around 6:30pm. Since it was our first time there and the menu is pretty extensive, we had a hard time deciding what to order. (Descriptions are in Spanish and English, with photos as well.) We each opted for a pair of soft tacos: beef tripe and fried pork for me, and chicken for Jon. We actually had our hearts (and stomachs) set on fish tacos, but that wasn't listed as one of the many options.
There isn't much to say about the decor; the dining space is filled with plastic booths and tables for two. The televisions mounted in the corners were showing Spanish-language soap operas while we were there.
When we sat down and looked over the menu a bit more, we noticed that there are a number of fish items available. So we thought maybe we could make a special request for fish tacos. Sure enough, it was do-able. It costs more -- $2 as opposed to $1.25 for the others we had ordered -- but it was worth it to satisfy our pescado craving.
Each of the tacos was piled with our chosen meat, as well as onions, cilantro and a mild sauce (next time, hot sauce for me!). The beef tripe may have been my favorite of the trio I went with. All of mine were pan-fried for a nice, crispy texture. The fish tacos we ate in Mexico consisted of large pieces of fish, dipped in batter and then deep-fried; at El Grullense, the fish taco is made with smaller chunks of fish that are pan-fried. Delicious nonetheless. Jon also enjoyed every bite of his grilled chicken tacos.
There are so many dishes to choose from at El Grullense, I definitely need to go back and try a few dozen more. In addition to tacos, they have burritos, flautas, chimichangas, quesadillas, fajitas, tamales, chile relleno, enchiladas, menudo... What DON'T they have! Although we didn't need to add anything extra to our tacos tonight, it's good to know that they have a solid-looking salsa bar as well.
On our way out, I was given a coupon for a free burrito for the grand opening celebration of El Grullense's Woodside Road restaurant. The coupon includes a list of their other locations. So these are the ones I know for sure are the same operation:
1280 El Camino Real
Redwood City, CA
3636 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA
Opening on May 5:
768 Woodside Road
Redwood City, CA
Opening soon in Mountain View.