El Taco Real Restaurant in Hammond, Ind., has my vote for being el numero uno among Mexican restaurants in the Region. Established by the Garcia family in 1974, the restaurant continues to please with consistent, authentic, top-quality Mexican cuisine.
You know you’re in for something special when you’re greeted at the door like a long-lost relative, even if it’s your very first time at the restaurant. Everything is made from scratch (including the guacamole) and the freshly shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and salsas bespeak Taco Real’s commitment to quality.
The portions are large, but if you think you can handle an appetizer, shoot for the Queso Fundido, a bubbly, cheesy affair served on a bed of sautéed onions, tomatoes and jalapenos that can be ordered with or without chorizo or pork or beef and lots of freshly made, warm tortilla chips or tortillas. Another good appetizer choice on the weekends is the Frijoles Borrachos beans with ground pork, tomatoes, onion, coriander, jalapenos cooked in Mexican beer.
All the usual suspects are represented — tacos, tamales (homemade), tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, and sopes — but Carne Asada (grilled skirt steaki), Torta de Queso (omelet stuffed with cheese, tomatoes and onion), and other seldom-seen dishes are offered. Menudo (tripe soup) and Posole (hominy stew) are served everyday and on the weekends, you can avail yourself of Chiles Rellenos (stuffed poblano peppers that are battered and fried).
There are daily specials — Caldo de Res (beef soup) on Tuesdays, Pork Chops Rancheros on Wednesdays, Costillas (pork spare ribs in sauce) on Thursdays, Flautas, Chiles Rellenos, Pollo Con Mole, Pollo Relleno on Fridays and Saturdays, and dinners come with beans and rice. A la carte options abound.
There are six choices for dessert, including Flan, but I would go with the Fruit Finale or the Cajetas Crepes filled with Mexican caramel and pecans.
Amenities include breakfast served anytime, a full bar, private party accommodation, and ñino (kid) plates. If you appreciate good Mexican food at affordable prices (many items are less than $10), El Taco Real delivers.
El Taco Real Restaurant
Address: 955 Hoffman St., Hammond, IN 46327
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays