Pop off I-75 and slide under a rail bridge, and you might miss it on your right side at 1312 Springwells in Detroit. But don’t. Because El Asador is one of those special Detroit experiences you need to have.

Most often when people talk about Mexican food in Detroit, the conversation focuses on that area right by the Ambassador Bridge. Xochomilco. Los Galanes. All of that.

Not to besmirch these places, but there’s so much more to Southwest Detroit and Mexicantown than that strip.

Al Asador Detroit tortilla soup
The tortilla soup at El Asador — Daily Detroit Photo

First thing to fall in love with is that this place is authentic. Like, make the guacamole at the table side authentic. There’s no doubt about ingredients when you can see it all come together in front of you, like some sort of tasty green symphony.

Second, the food has depth. It’s not just rice and beans slapped into a number combination. This stuff has care to it. Style, without pretension or ridiculous price. Even something simple like the tortilla soup was worth the trip on its own.

Enchiladas Verdes
Enchiladas Verdes

Although have tried the steak (it is labeled “El Asador Steakhouse” technically, and they do an bomb job on it), on this visit it was a different pairing. The Enchiladas Verdes was a fresh take, without the overly-melted glob of cheese. The green sauce was finely tuned. The shrimp dish was tight.

Third, service. They have that down. Prompt, attentive without being annoying. Place is a little tight especially if you sit at the back, but it fits more under “charming” than “annoying.”

Exterior of El Asador Steakhouse on Springwells
Exterior of El Asador Steakhouse on Springwells

Fourth, great value for money. Sure, you can spend a little here if you want to on the steak side of the menu — $27.99 is the top of the menu for the filet mignon with three chile butter sauce (so good), but don’t feel you have to hit the top of the options get something good. It’d be worth it for lunch to come for the soup alone.

CROWD: Neighbors, experienced Detroit diners, occasional couple or group on a special date (they seem to bring picnic baskets for the booze)

FOOD: Mexican and Mexican Steakhouse Fusion

BOOZE SITUATION: BYOB. There’s a store just down the road that was descent. Most folks bring wine.

DEETS: 1312 Springwells, Detroit. Open Tues – Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. / Sun & Mon 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | http://www.elasadordetroit.com/

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