Years. It’s taken years for me to finally check out Los Corrals, because every time I intended to go I'd stop one storefront short, getting lured in by The Peanut and its promise of delicious bar food and sketchy service. Trust me, if you don’t have your heart 100% set on Mexican, it's easy to get caught in The Peanut's siren song.
This time, backed up by some encouraging reviews and a desire to blaze new ground, I joined fellow lunchophiles Caitlin and Wells for our inaugural Los Corrals visit. But just to be safe, we approached from the east to avoid any last-minute temptation from its neighbor.
My buddies went inside as I snapped a photo, and had already been seated when I entered the modest lobby. Trekking forward into the restaurant to look for them, I noticed that Los Corrals appears to infinitely expand into a series of increasingly larger dining rooms.
At last I found my group in the third room, although I couldn't help but wonder how much further Los Corrals went back. Like if deep within the catacombs, there's a Grail knight patiently awaiting his taco platter.
Service is fast here, and soon we were munching on the complimentary chips and salsa, with an order of cheese dip on the way. The chips are deep yellow and thicker than most, and they carry an almost meaty taste, which I can only guess is infused from being fried with the tacos and whatnot. Wells was a big fan, but both Caitlin and I were less enthusiastic. She thought they were overcooked and I was put off by the over-crunchiness that makes them hard to bite into. The cheese dip was fine, just unremarkable.
Speaking of cheese, they really load you up -- and it’s more of a Velveetaish consistency. Good in moderation. Much less so in excess.
We ordered right down the dinner combo plate menu 1-2-3, each option coming in under $8. Wells went with the two taco and two enchilada combo, and Caitlin with the taco, enchilada, soupy beans and rice plate. I liked the sound of the taco, enchilada, quesadilla and chalupa plate -- seemed like it would be a huge bargain and a chance to try a good variety.
How disappointed I was when I found out that the difference between a quesadilla and a chalupa is that the oversized corn nacho gets splashed with cheese dip rather than a layer of beans and lettuce. The enchilada was alright. However, the entire plate was redeemed by the taco.
I wasn’t expecting much, but when I took a bite, I had to pause and look for the cheese dip I could have sworn I was tasting in there. Nope, it was just beef -- fantastically greasy beef with great sauce snuggled up in a crispy shell. If I go back, I’m getting all tacos.
In fact, this experience opened me up to making tacos my usual at various other Mexican restaurants, instead of my standard go-to of enchiladas. I've yet to find one with the delicious initial impact of Los Corrals, but rest assured, I’ll keep looking.
409 West 9th Street | Kansas City, MO 64105