Location: 2090 Erie Street, Lafayette (map it)
Phone: (765) 449-0160
Last week when I did my weekly call out to my Twitter and Facebook friends asking, “Where should I eat?” I got several Twitter responses that I should go to Taqueria El Maguey. I had never heard of this place, so I did a little searching. I started at Yelp, and there were several rave reviews. Then I looked in Google, and there were excellent reviews there as well. So it was decided, I’d definitely have to go try this place.
It’s over in Market Square, near Erie and Elmwood. I found two different addresses online, but it’s hard to miss. The building was once a KFC and while it has been repainted, etc, it still looks like a KFC.
So I parked and went in and this is a part that I really debated about including in the review because what I am sincerely hoping is that this was a fluke, a single incident, and this isn’t normal at all. But I feel like I have to be completely honest so here goes. When I went in, the whole place smelled bad. Not bad as in you don’t like the way the food smells (like how my kids react at Noodles & Co) but it had a distinctly “sewery” smell to it. So it basically smelled like a public bathroom. And I hate that I had to write that. I’m not sure why. And like I said, I hope it was a one time occurrence. My friend who was eating with me confirmed that it was not my imagination but if you have eaten there and had it not smell like a sewer, please put that in the comments and reassure me that this experience was not the norm.
Aside from the smell, it wasn’t a bad place. It had what was clearly the KFC floors, but some effort was made to create a Mexican environment. There was a Mexican daytime talk show on the TV that I couldn’t stop watching. It wasn’t huge, but there was a very nice looking patio that I would have really enjoyed eating on had the weather been a little warmer.
I was greeted warmly by our server and brought out some chips and salsa right away. And YUM, the salsa was very good. It was quite spicy, so if you are a spice wimp you might stay away, but it was very good. We perused the menu and made our selections and away our server went. And we didn’t see her again for quite some time.
While all the staff seemed very very pleasant, after placing our orders, they really didn’t come back very often. The food took quite a while to come out too. Not a big deal, I’m willing to wait for good food, but between the time we ordered and the time the food arrived, the server never came back. I know, because I could really have used a second basket of chips and salsa in that time.
The food did finally come. As a matter of habit, when I try a Mexican restaurant for the first time I almost always order the Tacos de Carne Asada. I feel like if they can do this well, then the rest of the food will generally be good too. I ordered a la carte, so I got a side of beans but skipped the rice. My friend got a combo platter with a taco, tostada, and something else that neither of us can seem to remember the name of.
I had heard that the tortillas here are freshly made. I can’t confirm or deny that this is the case, but what I can confirm is that the tacos de carne asada were really good! If I had to guess, I’d say the tortillas were fresh, but I don’t have any conclusive knowledge of this. I may even venture to say the carne asada was the best I’ve had in town. The beans weren’t the best I’ve ever had, but were good enough.
My friend reported that her taco shell for her crunchy taco was stale, but the rest of the meal was pretty good.
From @khaskett94: “It was decent. Service could be a little better. Food was pretty good & good sized portions. I’d eat lunch there again.”
So good chips and salsa, good tacos, and halfway decent service. Worth another try in my book.
Kid Friendly: Yes.
Price: Very affordable. $1.75 tacos ordering a la carte, with lunch specials starting at just over $5.