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May 11 2012

Dinner @ Roberto’sPosted By Pete - 05/11/12


Robertos_Taco_Shop 


The freeway exit at E Russel Rd and Boulder Highway is a quaint one, with only a handful of commercial establishments present. Extending less than a block in either direction, the amount of restaurants, gas stations, and businesses are nearly enough to be counted on two hands. Large swaths of undeveloped land reach away from this island of commercial retail towards the Mojave. Distant windswept mountains loom beyond, their hulking shapes creating a forlorn backdrop. Yet among this seemingly isolated patch of urban civilization, there lies a unique and tasty establishment.

Open all hours of the day and charming no matter what the time, Roberto's Taco Shop lies just up the Boulder intersection at 6355 East Russell Road. The sounds of Mariachi music and the unobtrusive light from behind the counter are the first sensations that grace the ears and eyes. Pictures of various plates and specials are strewn across the walls, spaced with some sense of evenness against the rich yellow walls. The pictures themselves were surprising. Totally bereft of profile angles, chef preparation, and professional lighting, these visuals displayed the dish in question plainly without fanfare. While some might claim the approach unprofessional, I found it to be refreshingly honest. Despite the unbiased light, the food itself looked far better than any fast-food I had ever ordered. 

The interior of the establishment was cozy and welcoming. Cedar-hued chairs and tables looked at home upon the beige tiled floor. There was however the rare dusting of crumbs upon them. This was by no means a deal breaker however (at least in my case). The cashiers themselves were charming and hospitable, sharing both qualities in equal measure. The young man I spoke too was even willing to break into easy-going conversation, an increasingly rare pleasure within the city limits of Las Vegas.  

I was prompt with my order, asking to try a special known as "Carne Asada Fries". It was a unique combination of deep fried potato strips, carne asada steak pieces, three varieties of cheese, luscious guacamole, a smattering of pico de gallo, and last but not least sour cream. The helpings were generous as well, easily matching $7.80 I put forth to purchase it. A wait of several minutes was all that was needed in terms of preparation time. The young cashier presented my dinner with a smile and a curt nod was given in return. I then set off get situated and dig into this monstrous beauty of a meal.

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Once seated with water on one hand and hot sauce in the other, I set about exploring this bizarre assembly of ingredients. The texture was moist and crisp, the meat juicy and just rough enough to blend with the sensation of fries bending and breaking. The guacamole and sour cream added to the lively affair, coupling the savory taste of cheese and meat exquisitely. The crispness of tomato, cilantro, corn, and diced pepper accompanied its moister counterparts to great effect. All in all my mouth was buzzing with rich flavors, my cheeks lightly flushed by the spiciness seeping through them. A good meal for a great price, all in all.

After digging through the rich layers and eating my fill for the time being, I graciously took my leave. Outside the dark expanses of desert reached out towards the same mountains I had seen earlier, now cloaked in deep shadow. A feeling of introspection washed over me in the same moment as the dry night air. As isolated as this place and its counterparts seemed to be, it was welcoming all the same. Those that walk the path less traveled are rumored to find greater reward.

I smiled to myself. There was indeed some truth to that.

Tags for this post: taco shop las vegas authentic mexican restaurant

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