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Las Asadas - Just Showing Some Overdue Love

Las Asadas - Just Showing Some Overdue Love
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  • Las Asadas - Just Showing Some Overdue Love

    Post #1 - May 15th, 2009, 6:02 pm
    Post #1 - May 15th, 2009, 6:02 pm Post #1 - May 15th, 2009, 6:02 pm
    For some reason, I've been seeing more posts about Las Asadas recently. There are a few threads that mention the joint, but none I found were dedicated. No Longer. I have been a huge fan of this joint since my first visit at the Des Plaines location about 7 years ago. I was living in Logan Square, and driving out to Mt. Prospect to work. I passed this place 5 days a week, every week for about two years straight, thinking there was NO WAY that it could be any good. I had been to so many sub par taquerias over the years that I simply assumed it had to be garbage.” What kind of Mex food is some shack in the middle of Des Plaines gonna offer me that I haven't already thrown out at countless other joints over the years?" My prejudice got the best of me.

    Never again.

    One day, a co-worker asked me if I had ever been to the place. I told him no, and that I probably never would, because:
    A. It's in Des Plaines, and
    B. It’s a total SHACK.

    He laughed at me, telling me the place was a gold mine. He lived in Huntley, Illinois. No WAY could he have any clue what a good Taqueria was about. He told me day after day how good the place was. I finally caved, and reluctantly joined him for lunch. After conversations with him about how I was going to laugh at him for taking me to some bs taco joint, he laughed right back at me, saying how I was going to be his best friend after my first bite. From that very first bite, Las Asadas renewed my faith in the quest for a good steak taco.

    Las Asadas is run by one of the sons of the owners of La Pasadita. I've seen him on several occasions at several different locations. Very friendly guy, likes to talk about his business. He has told me that he strives to have ALL of his locations put out the exact same product. Admirable in theory, yes, but it might not be the case. I have ONLY been to Lee Street in Des Plaines, Western Ave in Chicago, and Ogden Avenue in Brookfield. In all fairness, Binko is REALLY not a fan of the 47th street location, and someone else said the La Palapita (which at least USED to be listed as part of the Las Asadas family) on North Milwaukee was just horrendous. Side note: La Palapita is not on the list of restaurants of the new take out menu I got yesterday. Maybe it is no longer a part of the chain? My experiences at the Brookfield location have not been nearly as consistently great as the others.

    The goods (imo):
    This is a 3 trick pony if you ask me. Their three best offerings, in order, how I'd rate them:
    1. STEAK
    2. STEAK
    3. STEAK, but if they are out of the STEAK, you could try the Barbacoa, Lengua, or Chicken, but really, ask again if they are truly out of the STEAK.

    The reasoning is this. Plain and simple: fire grilled skirt steak. This is NOT the sauteed, griddle fried chopped garbage "steak" that an extremely alarming amount of taquerias in Chicagoland slop out. Yeah, I'm pointing at you El Famous, and you, Taco Burrito Palace, and you too Los Comales, and you too Arandas, Arturo's, Lazos, Taco Burrito King, and many, many, many, others. Las Asadas serves steak that you would be proud to serve from your backyard grill to guests. I grill up skirts all the time, love them to death.

    Las Asadas steak is not perfect every time, but, from my hundreds of visits, they run at a pretty high success rate for being on point. I have seen them employ a BOG method (as Titus Wong puts it.) If you go at off peak times, they might not grill up a steak for you as you order. This is why I try NOT to go there at off peak times. During Peak times, however, there should be no worries. The steak turnover is quick and furious at the Des Plaines and Western ave locations during rushes.

    A few things that are less than optimal about this place:
    1. They nuke the corn tortillas. Yes, you heard me right. When the steak is ON, though, the tortillas won't bother you ONE BIT. Really. I LOVE corn tortillas. I thought it would be a dealbreaker. Not so. Not so in the least. The steak is THAT good.

    2. The salsa. The salsa lacks any real characteristic. It's verde only. No other options. It's usually thin, vinegary, limey, and tangy. On the plus side, it's usually HOT! I LIKE their salsa, don't get me wrong, but if they put a little more effort into it, and really just a LITTLE, it would just ratchet things up to a new level. Again, their steak makes all shortcomings seem trivial.

    3. Lack of menu options. No Pastor, no tinga, sesos, cecina, tripas, chicharones, deshebrada, no sopa, no camarones, or other mariscos, no birria, no no no. None of that. Nothing special on weekends. No enchiladas. No. No Pozole. No patas, no tamales, no atole, no guisados, no moles, no fajitas. No, No, No. None of that. The menu at the Lee street location says they have chiles rellenos. I have never seen one. Not saying they don't have em, I'm just saying I have never seen one, or heard one being ordered. They have STEAK. The barbacoa, is actually pretty good, IMO, but I'm going here for STEAK. I hear a ton of lengua orders when I'm there, but I prefer the STEAK.
    I've had the chicken three times. It's not bad, but I have two places I'd much rather go to for chicken tacos. Las Asadas is for STEAK. There is no little abuelita in back making chile roja for enchiladas, or making masa for tortillas. No. There is gonna be a fire breathing grill, a guy with a knife chopping steak, another guy stuffing tortillas with meat and toppings, and another guy taking your order, and calling them out as they're ready.

    I went to Lee St yesterday for lunch and took some hasty pics:

    Um, it's a DIVE!
    Image

    Menu:
    Image

    The Salsa:
    Image

    Those familiar will soon have their salivatory glands working. Bad pic, but that bottom tip was charred nicely:
    Image

    A beat up looking tostada, for sure, but I wish I had one right now:
    Image

    This is the kind of steak that leaves you wanting more, not matter how full you are.

    Some random quotes from around the forum {and yes, I purposely took the good ones :D :}
    FoodSnob77 wrote:Tried Las Asadas today, got the steak burrito and a couple of steak taco's, all I can say is THANKS SEEBEE! I WILL NEVER EAT AT CHIPOTLE again! The skirt steak char grilled cannot be beat as you said, and like many others sadly, I just didnt know any better until I took my first bite out of a Las Asadas burrito. Since it comes from the same ownership as La Pasadita I wonder if it is even worth it to try them out when Las Asadas was the best I've ever had but I might as well try them as well as Garcia's. Thanks again, I will now convert all my other friends who don't know any better. Without your recommendation I would have never known, because the las asadas off western is a tiny little shack that is indistinguishable from the many other tons of mexican joints on that part of fullerton.


    abf005 wrote:Las Asadas in Des Plaines on Lee St. They easily get my rec for some of the best burritos, tacos & barbacoa in the area, and maybe even the whole city.


    Ghazi wrote:LAS ASADAS!!! They have pulled me into their web the last two weeks. I'm a full-blown addict, having gone there at least 5 times in the past 14 days. When i'm not eating there, I'm imaginiing that I am....Not only was the first steak taco I had there the best steak taco I've ever eaten - the taste of the steak was up there enjoyment-wise as any i've had at any top-dollar steak house. I just kept moaning in pleasure while I ate and shaking my head in disbelief. The guys behind the counter (Des Plaines location) were laughing their asses off at my facial expressiosn.


    Ursiform wrote:There are a few taquerias near there, (The Congress Theater)but for my money the best tacos in that neighborhood can be found at Las Asadas.


    The locales, as listed on the menu:
    782 W. Oakton in Des Plaines
    356 Lee Ave in Des Plaines
    8863 Ogden in Brookfield
    3834 W 47th in Chicago
    2072 N Western in Chicago (may have moved to 2045)

    Las Asadas fans, UNITE!
    No seriously, if you think the place sucks, please afford what location, and why, what you had, things of a useful nature. Useful info, and data points are welcome, and highly appreciated. Per one of Binko's posts, I don't think I'd expect too much from the 47th st location, and I really do appreciate it. I could see myself bee-lining there after a Sox game expecting the world, and being let down big time.

    Did I mention, that this place is good for STEAK?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #2 - May 15th, 2009, 9:46 pm
    Post #2 - May 15th, 2009, 9:46 pm Post #2 - May 15th, 2009, 9:46 pm
    How funny!! Just tonight, I drove the 45 min/35 mile drive from Gurnee with my son to eat dinner at Las Asadas on Lee St. My 15 year old son even decided to try the Lengua taco and he loved it! The burritos of course were OUTSTANDING as usual.

    Last summer I became a fan of Las Asadas, I've visited the Oakton, Western & Lee St locations and never been disappointed by any of them. Since that time, I've become so enamored of Las Adadas, that with the sole exception of La Pasadita, I cant even stomach eating any other taqueria's steak tacos or burritos. I'll even go so far as to say, that I like Las Asadas better than I like La Pasadita. And thats a big thing, especally since I'd been going to La Pasadita for many years.

    I reached this conclusion last weekend, when my son & I went to La Pasadita, this time I found out that one of the stores the south west sit down one, does indeed offer a super burrito, unlike the other two. Anyway, after eating a La Pasadita super burrito last weekend, and then having the super burrito at Las Asadas tonight, I have now deemed that the super burrito at Las Asadas is indeed superior.

    Great job seebee! Thank you for starting this thread.
  • Post #3 - May 15th, 2009, 9:49 pm
    Post #3 - May 15th, 2009, 9:49 pm Post #3 - May 15th, 2009, 9:49 pm
    its not THAT wonderful. its good, but i mean, theyve been known to microwave their tortillas, the steak often comes from a bucket, the sauce is ok, standard green sauce... i think this place is just alright. i live right by it; its good. a big thing for me is handmade tortillas--if they had those then yes, this place would be off the chain. maybe another salsa or two. i really don't understand why a few people are gaga over this place. sure its grilled steak, but i grill steak all the time. yes its good. there are a few good burritos in chicagoland that don't grill steak and they're good too. don't get me wrong, i like this place, but i don't get the gaga. just one fat man's opinion.

    also, the chile rellenos are pretty good. they come as a taco. what i want to try is the "Las Asadas" which is grilled steak and a chile relleno. like i said, i can grill steak but yeah, can't make a chille relleno
  • Post #4 - May 16th, 2009, 2:39 am
    Post #4 - May 16th, 2009, 2:39 am Post #4 - May 16th, 2009, 2:39 am
    Sounds like you have some pretty unrealistic expectations for a place that is just simply a taco & burrito stand, pure and simple. I dont really expect everyone to love it, but since your critique left much to be desired, I had to respond to the following:

    MBK wrote:a big thing for me is handmade tortillas--if they had those then yes, this place would be off the chain


    Most taquerias are dealing in pure volume, making tortillas fresh at a burrito joint is virtually unheard of! Las Asadas occupies a small two room building. where exactly are they going to have someone stand and roll out tortillas?

    Fact: over 90% of the taquerias and sit down restaurants in Chicago, either microwave or reheat prepackaged (but made fresh daily from the factory) tortillas on a flat grill.

    Can you even name one burrtio stand that rolls out out 16"-20" burrito size tortillas? I doubt it. I agree it would be nice, but that's not realistic, its kind of like dinging a hot dog stand for not baking their own buns!

    MBK wrote:the sauce is ok, standard green sauce...


    The green salsa is anything but typical, its blended pure green chiles, garlic, water and salt and not much else. It's obviously made fresh because I sure cant find the stuff on any shelf. But most importantly, the reason its unlike every other Chicagoland taqueria's green salsa, is because its not primailly made with tomatillos.

    I know that every time I eat that salsa, I'm reminded of how similar the flavor is to Hatch New Mexico green chile, to me, its got a simailar unique texture and flavor.

    MBK wrote:like i said, i can grill steak but yeah, can't make a chile relleno


    I make both, but us grilling steaks at home is irrelevant for anyone on the thread since they cant come over and order it. But finding a taqueria that grills the steak fresh is rare. And there are only a handful that bother to do it, Las Asadas is one of them.

    MBK wrote:Steak in a bucket


    The process is to grill the whole skirt steak, typically I see them do between 2-8 skirt steaks at a time, which are seasoned while on the grill (I have yet to figure out if they're are pre marinated). After they are cooked, they chop them up, and put the meat into a metal food storage containers and set over by the prep guy who is assembling the tacos and burritos.

    How else would you propose they safely move the meat from the grill & chopping block area over to the prep table?

    MBK wrote:there are a few good burritos in chicagoland that don't grill steak and they're good too


    Since the key word you used was "good" and not great, I'll agree.

    A few years ago I started to do a taco test of over 40 taquerias in Chicago & Waukegan, (its archieved on my blog). I stopped because it quickly became pointless, since they all used the same crappy chopped up steak meat and seasoning (if any). So my conclusion was that those places are a dime a dozen with the difference between them being varying degrees of mediocre to terrible.


    What sets Las Asadas & its sister La Pasadita apart from the pack, is that they grill the steak and are simple,uncomplicated and straightforward. The menus are about doing a few things great, and that's it. They dont waste time or effort on things they dont need to, or dont do well or really dont care about, which may be why your not getting the "gaga"

    I've found that the best places to eat, really just do a few really good things, and thats what gets them noticed. So Las Asadas is keeping great company with allot of others that follow the KISS method too: La Pasadita, Gene & Jude's, Johnny's Beef, Al's Beef, Maxwell Street depot... just to name a few.
  • Post #5 - May 16th, 2009, 6:05 am
    Post #5 - May 16th, 2009, 6:05 am Post #5 - May 16th, 2009, 6:05 am
    abf005 wrote:
    MBK wrote:a big thing for me is handmade tortillas--if they had those then yes, this place would be off the chain


    Most taquerias are dealing in pure volume, making tortillas fresh at a burrito joint is virtually unheard of! Las Asadas occupies a small two room building. where exactly are they going to have someone stand and roll out tortillas?


    Oh Burt, you've much to learn. Luckily LTH Forum is here to school you. Just do a search on handmade tortillas...better yet, I've done it for you. There are many other examples that don't even come up in that search, but rest assured, hand made tortillas at taco joints are easy to find in Chicago.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - May 16th, 2009, 9:36 am
    Post #6 - May 16th, 2009, 9:36 am Post #6 - May 16th, 2009, 9:36 am
    stevez wrote:
    abf005 wrote:
    MBK wrote:a big thing for me is handmade tortillas--if they had those then yes, this place would be off the chain


    Most taquerias are dealing in pure volume, making tortillas fresh at a burrito joint is virtually unheard of! Las Asadas occupies a small two room building. where exactly are they going to have someone stand and roll out tortillas?


    Oh Burt, you've much to learn. Luckily LTH Forum is here to school you. Just do a search on handmade tortillas...better yet, I've done it for you. There are many other examples that don't even come up in that search, but rest assured, hand made tortillas at taco joints are easy to find in Chicago.



    Lets start my "education" on the right quote:
    abf005 wrote:Can you even name one burrito stand that rolls out out 16"-20" burrito size tortillas? I doubt it.


    Your link confirms what I already know, and have experienced many times. I know can go down the street to Paulina's here in Waukegan for lovingly made corn tortillas made by Abuela in back. And while the food is fine, its not a burrito stand either.

    But all that tortilla glory is lost when you put in cheap griddle fried meat anyway.

    I "challenged" if you will, for someone to find me even a single instance of a burrito place making the tortillas by hand. That would be flour, not corn, and sized 16"-20" not 6"-8".

    Growing up with a mother from San Antonio who hand made tortillas for most of our dinners growing up, is ever on my mind. I know how tremendous those are right off the grill. But I'll also tell you, that while they are great for tacos & fajitas or even alone, fresh tortillas make for terrible super size burritos because they tear easily.

    OK, I'm all ears now, lets get back to class ... :P
  • Post #7 - May 16th, 2009, 10:16 am
    Post #7 - May 16th, 2009, 10:16 am Post #7 - May 16th, 2009, 10:16 am
    thanks and i appreciate the response burt, but my criticisms of the place still stand:

    - they do often microwave their tortillas; i've been to several joints lately that have prepared their own tortillas. i even think pollo vagabundo does the big tortillas as you mentioned

    - there's a good chance the meat in the bucket has been sitting around for awhile. they don't usually bother grilling fresh meat unless you hit them at lunch. that said, the meat that has been sitting around has the tendancy to be greasy and they don't even heat it up if i remember correctly-- they just kind of slap it on the tortilla. i do grill skirt at home; the reason i state that is because i don't think char taste alone can make a restaurant spectacular. things like good tortillas and a variety of specialty salsas (see below) need to be part of the equation to really set a place apart

    - i'm sorry, i don't think the green sauce is anything special. i've tasted sauce like this at several joints, el famous being one of them? maybe i'm just not paying attention, but i've never been gaga over this sauce. its just alright. after tasting the salsas at cemitas puebla and a couple pollo al carbon places, ive come to appreciate the variety of specialty salsas other than just the straight up green, and if my taste isn't fooling me, a sauce i've had at many other joints

    - again, i'm not saying the place is bad; but if i didn't live nearby i probably wouldn't drive out for it too often. please don't take my criticism the wrong way--i do like this place. i would try the chile relleno; i think they make a decent one.
  • Post #8 - May 16th, 2009, 10:19 am
    Post #8 - May 16th, 2009, 10:19 am Post #8 - May 16th, 2009, 10:19 am
    stevez wrote:
    Oh Burt, you've much to learn. Luckily LTH Forum is here to school you. Just do a search on handmade tortillas...better yet, I've done it for you. There are many other examples that don't even come up in that search, but rest assured, hand made tortillas at taco joints are easy to find in Chicago.


    BTW: I have some outside LTH reading for you: http://www.burritophile.com/articles/cy ... al_god.php

    Folks , it appears that some people are entirely missing the main point of Las Asasds, which is that it's a burrito joint!

    If your looking for homemade, authentic, creative, or any other Mexican whatever variation that's other than a burrito place that makes some of the most perfect burritos in the city, your going to be disappointed.

    Like seebee said, get the steak.

    I say get the regular steak burrito or get the steak super burrito: which I call "the burrito of love"
  • Post #9 - May 16th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    Post #9 - May 16th, 2009, 3:06 pm Post #9 - May 16th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    MBK wrote:thanks and i appreciate the response burt, but my criticisms of the place still stand:

    - they do often microwave their tortillas; i've been to several joints lately that have prepared their own tortillas. i even think polo vagabond does the big tortillas as you mentioned

    - there's a good chance the meat in the bucket has been sitting around for awhile. they don't usually bother grilling fresh meat unless you hit them at lunch. that said, the meat that has been sitting around has the tendency to be greasy and they don't even heat it up if I remember correctly-- they just kind of slap it on the tortilla. I do grill skirt at home; the reason I state that is because I don't think char taste alone can make a restaurant spectacular. things like good tortillas and a variety of specialty salsas (see below) need to be part of the equation to really set a place apart

    - i'm sorry, i don't think the green sauce is anything special. i've tasted sauce like this at several joints, el famous being one of them? maybe i'm just not paying attention, but i've never been gaga over this sauce. its just alright. after tasting the salsas at cemitas puebla and a couple pollo al carbon places, ive come to appreciate the variety of specialty salsas other than just the straight up green, and if my taste isn't fooling me, a sauce i've had at many other joints

    - again, i'm not saying the place is bad; but if i didn't live nearby i probably wouldn't drive out for it too often. please don't take my criticism the wrong way--i do like this place. i would try the chile relleno; i think they make a decent one.


    No apologies necessary, I just respectfully disagree with what you consider valid points.

    For example, the word “bucket”, it sounds dirty, like a mop belongs in it. It’s actually a standard stainless steel steamer food container that is in common use across the entire food industry. There is nothing unusual in its use for food, here or anywhere else.

    Standing meat? Not that I've ever experienced. And I do go very frequently, at varying hours, not just lunchtime. Does it happen? And has it happened to you? Very possibly, but it’s certainly an exception, and not a rule as you make it sound. As to greasy, that’s very unlikely, since skirt steak is a very lean piece of meat to begin with, and theirs is fat trimmed, it’s not rib eye steak sitting in those food containers.

    Fresh made tortillas, another very valid point. But that’s out of context for a “burrito joint”. I mean it’s great if you can get it. But again, fresh made tort’s at a burrito stand is very uncommon and really unpractical. So much so, that finding handmade tortillas is actually more common than finding a place that char grills their steak for example.

    And while I enjoy fresh tortillas and creative salsas, seriously, that is not what elevates one Mexican place over any other. Sure it adds, but it’s what’s on the plate and IN the tortillas that really count. I give you as an example Taco Cabana http://www.tacocabana.com/menu/condiments.asp, known for fresh tortillas and about a half dozen salsas, and yet the food still sucks.

    But speaking of salsa, more variety does not equal a better burrito joint, nor does it negate the fact the one and only salsa they offer is pretty darn good and unique in its own right. I still disagree with your profiling of the salsa, I am looking at the salsa this very instant (I brought some home with dinner last night) and it clearly lacks the trademark tomatillo seeds common to most of the avaerage Taquerias around (like El famous, which really sucks BTW). I think you need to really reanalyze the sauce if you ever visit again, because you memory is indeed fooling you. I’m not saying that it’s the best ever, but what I’m saying is that it’s definitely not like your standard Taqueria salsa either.

    Take care-
  • Post #10 - May 16th, 2009, 3:40 pm
    Post #10 - May 16th, 2009, 3:40 pm Post #10 - May 16th, 2009, 3:40 pm
    abf005 wrote:I say get the regular steak burrito or get the steak super burrito: which I call "the burrito of love"

    Not a fan of burritos, 3/4's of a pound of meat jammed in with another pound of beans, sour cream and low rent cheese do absolutely nothing for me. I'll give Las Asadas's tacos, Mexican minimalist style (two griddled tortillas, onion/cilantro, three finger grab of meat), a try though.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - May 16th, 2009, 4:02 pm
    Post #11 - May 16th, 2009, 4:02 pm Post #11 - May 16th, 2009, 4:02 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    abf005 wrote:I say get the regular steak burrito or get the steak super burrito: which I call "the burrito of love"

    Not a fan of burritos, 3/4's of a pound of meat jammed in with another pound of beans, sour cream and low rent cheese do absolutely nothing for me.
    I agree. However, I really enjoyed my Guanajuato #3 burrito today - - carne asada with onions, cilantro, tomato, avocado, and just a schmear of refried beans. Really juicy, nicely charred meat on a blistering tortilla. No sour cream or crummy cheese in sight. They have, however raised the price of their burrito to a whopping $4.05 plus tax. It was a madhouse in there today. I tested my poor Espanol by seeing who ordered the most tacos. During my brief visit, one woman ordered 22 lomo tacos, an impressive bag full.

    Hope everyone's enjoying the lovely weekend,

    Ronna
  • Post #12 - May 16th, 2009, 7:59 pm
    Post #12 - May 16th, 2009, 7:59 pm Post #12 - May 16th, 2009, 7:59 pm
    abf005 wrote:
    No apologies necessary, I just respectfully disagree with what you consider valid points.

    For example, the word “bucket”, it sounds dirty, like a mop belongs in it. It’s actually a standard stainless steel steamer food container that is in common use across the entire food industry. There is nothing unusual in its use for food, here or anywhere else.

    Standing meat? Not that I've ever experienced. And I do go very frequently, at varying hours, not just lunchtime. Does it happen? And has it happened to you? Very possibly, but it’s certainly an exception, and not a rule as you make it sound. As to greasy, that’s very unlikely, since skirt steak is a very lean piece of meat to begin with, and theirs is fat trimmed, it’s not rib eye steak sitting in those food containers.

    Fresh made tortillas, another very valid point. But that’s out of context for a “burrito joint”. I mean it’s great if you can get it. But again, fresh made tort’s at a burrito stand is very uncommon and really unpractical. So much so, that finding handmade tortillas is actually more common than finding a place that char grills their steak for example.

    And while I enjoy fresh tortillas and creative salsas, seriously, that is not what elevates one Mexican place over any other. Sure it adds, but it’s what’s on the plate and IN the tortillas that really count. I give you as an example Taco Cabana http://www.tacocabana.com/menu/condiments.asp, known for fresh tortillas and about a half dozen salsas, and yet the food still sucks.

    But speaking of salsa, more variety does not equal a better burrito joint, nor does it negate the fact the one and only salsa they offer is pretty darn good and unique in its own right. I still disagree with your profiling of the salsa, I am looking at the salsa this very instant (I brought some home with dinner last night) and it clearly lacks the trademark tomatillo seeds common to most of the avaerage Taquerias around (like El famous, which really sucks BTW). I think you need to really reanalyze the sauce if you ever visit again, because you memory is indeed fooling you. I’m not saying that it’s the best ever, but what I’m saying is that it’s definitely not like your standard Taqueria salsa either.

    Take care-


    Burt, I had it today. Again, I live right by the place and have been going for 10 years. I think the place is good but I don't understand what seems to me as a bit of over-hype. I just had the burrito today, and I forgot that the burritos don't do much for me. I do prefer their tacos. By bucket, I did not mean that in a condescending way; it has been referred to before as a bucket so I just used the same word. There have been several times, usually around dinner during the week, that the meat came out from the "stainless steal tin" as cold and indeed greasy. I'm not postulating that it may have been greasy; it was greasy because that was my experience. Also, my wife's tacos today had steak that was not even lukewarm, almost cold. Again, it wasn't a bad meal but it wasn't spectacular either. As for the salsa, the taste to me is still good to average. It has some heat and a bit of peppery flavor but nothing resounding like the green salsa at the now defunct el pollo regio. You stated that homemade tortillas wouldn't save a place, and I agree (though good "bread" makes up for a lot), though I also agree that char meat alone doesn't always save a place.

    Like i've always said about Las Asadas: Its a good taco place; their tacos are definitely better than their burritos, their chile rellenos are decent, their green sauce is pretty good (not amazing), but their meat isn't always hot off the grill (going for 10 years, yes, this has been my experience) which leads me to my verdict of Asadas being good, but not great. Regards!
  • Post #13 - May 16th, 2009, 8:30 pm
    Post #13 - May 16th, 2009, 8:30 pm Post #13 - May 16th, 2009, 8:30 pm
    REB wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:
    abf005 wrote:I say get the regular steak burrito or get the steak super burrito: which I call "the burrito of love"

    Not a fan of burritos, 3/4's of a pound of meat jammed in with another pound of beans, sour cream and low rent cheese do absolutely nothing for me.
    I agree. However, I really enjoyed my Guanajuato #3 burrito today - - carne asada with onions, cilantro, tomato, avocado, and just a schmear of refried beans. Really juicy, nicely charred meat on a blistering tortilla. No sour cream or crummy cheese in sight. They have, however raised the price of their burrito to a whopping $4.05 plus tax. It was a madhouse in there today. I tested my poor Espanol by seeing who ordered the most tacos. During my brief visit, one woman ordered 22 lomo tacos, an impressive bag full.

    Hope everyone's enjoying the lovely weekend,

    Ronna


    I agree with...wow, I don't even know any more. I'll simply say this:
    Don't order a burrito with a bunch of beans, and sour cream, and low rent cheese. Order it WITHOUT. I think beans are the most offensive substance in a standard "Chicago" burrito, but whatever, the debate could go on and on...When I do a burrito at Las Asadas (or anywhere for that matter) it's "steak burrito no beans no cheese, WITH avocado." That will net you steak, cilantro, onion, sour cream and avocado. Nothing else.

    MBK - I agree with most of your issues with this place except a few. I listed the same issues - tortillas, salsa, the bucket. BUT, I definitely do not agree that there are places that griddle fry steak being as good, and more emphatically when you go at the correct times to avoid the bucket issue. I'd certainly like to try some of these places' steak offerings if you would let me know the names. Also, for anyone familiar with the fire grilled carne asada joints, this is pretty similar in that like nearly ALL of them, if you go at peak times, you're not gonna have to deal with "the bucket." I'd say for the MOST part, lunch time would be your best bet. I've had STELLAR eats at all times of the day, but lunch time is the best bet.

    Also, quick note: They only nuke the corn tortillas if anyone cares about that sorta thing. The flour ones go on the fire grill.

    And a friendly jab for MBK - You say you "grill steaks all the time."
    Well, why don't you buy a steak, chop it to smithereens, and then sautee it on a griddle all the time?
    I really just can't think of any place that sautees their steak that's "as good" as Las Aasadas steak. I think the fire grilling adds a dimension of flavor to steak that a flat iron can't even compare to. Now, if you take that fire grilled steak, and let it sit in "the bucket," that's a whole different story, which is why I go at peak times.

    BUT, if you tell me the places that you think are as good, that do not grill their steak, I'll make a point to check them out.

    For abf, I HIGHLY doubt the skirts are pre-marinated before going on the grill. Skirts are FULL of fat. I can re-create the A+ grade Asadas steak anytime I want at home. OUter skirt + hot grill + a tiny bit of Tony Chachere's (or really, almost any other seasoned salt) Grill them to a medium rare, and chop it up. I have a freezer FULL of skirt, I do it all the time.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #14 - May 16th, 2009, 8:32 pm
    Post #14 - May 16th, 2009, 8:32 pm Post #14 - May 16th, 2009, 8:32 pm
    MBK wrote:
    abf005 wrote:
    No apologies necessary, I just respectfully disagree with what you consider valid points.

    For example, the word “bucket”, it sounds dirty, like a mop belongs in it. It’s actually a standard stainless steel steamer food container that is in common use across the entire food industry. There is nothing unusual in its use for food, here or anywhere else.

    Standing meat? Not that I've ever experienced. And I do go very frequently, at varying hours, not just lunchtime. Does it happen? And has it happened to you? Very possibly, but it’s certainly an exception, and not a rule as you make it sound. As to greasy, that’s very unlikely, since skirt steak is a very lean piece of meat to begin with, and theirs is fat trimmed, it’s not rib eye steak sitting in those food containers.

    Fresh made tortillas, another very valid point. But that’s out of context for a “burrito joint”. I mean it’s great if you can get it. But again, fresh made tort’s at a burrito stand is very uncommon and really unpractical. So much so, that finding handmade tortillas is actually more common than finding a place that char grills their steak for example.

    And while I enjoy fresh tortillas and creative salsas, seriously, that is not what elevates one Mexican place over any other. Sure it adds, but it’s what’s on the plate and IN the tortillas that really count. I give you as an example Taco Cabana http://www.tacocabana.com/menu/condiments.asp, known for fresh tortillas and about a half dozen salsas, and yet the food still sucks.

    But speaking of salsa, more variety does not equal a better burrito joint, nor does it negate the fact the one and only salsa they offer is pretty darn good and unique in its own right. I still disagree with your profiling of the salsa, I am looking at the salsa this very instant (I brought some home with dinner last night) and it clearly lacks the trademark tomatillo seeds common to most of the avaerage Taquerias around (like El famous, which really sucks BTW). I think you need to really reanalyze the sauce if you ever visit again, because you memory is indeed fooling you. I’m not saying that it’s the best ever, but what I’m saying is that it’s definitely not like your standard Taqueria salsa either.

    Take care-


    Burt, I had it today. Again, I live right by the place and have been going for 10 years. I think the place is good but I don't understand what seems to me as a bit of over-hype. I just had the burrito today, and I forgot that the burritos don't do much for me. I do prefer their tacos. By bucket, I did not mean that in a condescending way; it has been referred to before as a bucket so I just used the same word. There have been several times, usually around dinner during the week, that the meat came out from the "stainless steal tin" as cold and indeed greasy. I'm not postulating that it may have been greasy; it was greasy because that was my experience. Also, my wife's tacos today had steak that was not even lukewarm, almost cold. Again, it wasn't a bad meal but it wasn't spectacular either. As for the salsa, the taste to me is still good to average. It has some heat and a bit of peppery flavor but nothing resounding like the green salsa at the now defunct el pollo regio. You stated that homemade tortillas wouldn't save a place, and I agree (though good "bread" makes up for a lot), though I also agree that char meat alone doesn't always save a place.

    Like i've always said about Las Asadas: Its a good taco place; their tacos are definitely better than their burritos, their chile rellenos are decent, their green sauce is pretty good (not amazing), but their meat isn't always hot off the grill (going for 10 years, yes, this has been my experience) which leads me to my verdict of Asadas being good, but not great. Regards!


    MBK, you are missing out. Next time you go, don't let them slop out the bucket stuff. Tell them you want the real deal. I've done it before.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #15 - May 16th, 2009, 8:43 pm
    Post #15 - May 16th, 2009, 8:43 pm Post #15 - May 16th, 2009, 8:43 pm
    seebee, i never stated that i knew of a place that griddles their steak that was better than las asadas in terms of tacos. i was merely implying that char grilling alone doesn't seal the deal for me. like i stated, i can grill a steak at home, i can also sear steak in the pan and finish it in the oven... the point is the other things, tortillas, salsa, steak freshness all add up. the microwaved corn tortillas, the average salsa and the steak left in the tin are all points that lead me to my "good not great" rating of las asadas and i think all things considered that is a fair rating. to reiterate, char alone doesn't save a place for me... and i know it isn't steak but a good comparison is in n out to an average char burger place; despite the griddle, i'll do in n out everytime because everything, not only the cooking method, pops. great discussion by the way! :D

    seebee, i'm a bit timid in person, so i just try and sneak in at lunch so i don't have to ask :)
  • Post #16 - May 16th, 2009, 9:06 pm
    Post #16 - May 16th, 2009, 9:06 pm Post #16 - May 16th, 2009, 9:06 pm
    MBK wrote: i really don't understand why a few people are gaga over this place. sure its grilled steak, but i grill steak all the time. yes its good. there are a few good burritos in chicagoland that don't grill steak and they're good too.


    This really came across that you were saying that there are places that do not grill their steak, that have steak as good as Asadas.

    I think I've got you now. I'm a little dense, and I'll be the FIRST one to admit it. You say the steak doesn't make up for the other shortcomings. I say it DOES (with the caveat that it's FRESH, non-bucket steak.)

    Well, I can say this. The salsa is homemade, and the flavor varies quite a bit. Actually strike that. The HEAT varies quite a bit. I think the salsa could be MUCH better, but I like it because it's usually HOT. The hotter the better (for their salsa, anyway- since it really lacks any great characteristics as I originally noted.) Wanna laugh? When I go, and the meat is STELLAR, but the salsa is not packing a great punch? I'll go back the next day with a container of my own salsa. I've done this 20 or 30 times. I'll tell the workers that their salsa is weak. They'll laugh - we're good like that.

    The tortilla thing - well, like I said, I thought it was gonna be a deal breaker, but for me, it turns out that it doesn't really matter. The steak makes up for it so much that I don't think twice about it anymore. (The non-bucket steak, that is.) Would they be better if they grilled the corn tortillas instead of nuking them? Of course. But, really, it rarely crosses my mind when I get a mouthfull of their hot off the grill, juicy, skirt steak.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #17 - May 16th, 2009, 9:17 pm
    Post #17 - May 16th, 2009, 9:17 pm Post #17 - May 16th, 2009, 9:17 pm
    i guess i really don't dig the burritos at asadas... it could be that i'm no longer much of a burrito fan, which is why i stick to their tacos despite the microwaved tortillas. i just had one today and it was decent, not as good as their tacos and certainly not revelatory. again, steak from the tin and the sour cream was a bit over bearing. i did not get beans. a burrito can be a mess as GWIV somewhat implied up-thread and i don't really taste a difference for the better between a char grilled mess and a griddled mess :D that said, i'd stick to their steak tacos at lunch.
  • Post #18 - May 16th, 2009, 10:02 pm
    Post #18 - May 16th, 2009, 10:02 pm Post #18 - May 16th, 2009, 10:02 pm
    How's the meat quality at LA? One of my peeves about Pasadita is the gristle that I sometimes find included with their steak. I know some people actually have said they like it that way, but I prefer my carne asada well-trimmed.
    What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about?
  • Post #19 - May 17th, 2009, 8:29 am
    Post #19 - May 17th, 2009, 8:29 am Post #19 - May 17th, 2009, 8:29 am
    abf005 wrote:I "challenged" if you will, for someone to find me even a single instance of a burrito place making the tortillas by hand. That would be flour, not corn, and sized 16"-20" not 6"-8".


    Sorry. I know nothing of burritos. I don't eat them. I usually try to order something authentically Mexican when I go to a taco joint, plus I don't like the gloppy beans-sour cream-rice combo. I bow to your superior burrito knowledge. I will point out, however, that Nuevo Leon hand makes their flour tortillas. I can't comment on your size requirements.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - May 17th, 2009, 8:44 am
    Post #20 - May 17th, 2009, 8:44 am Post #20 - May 17th, 2009, 8:44 am
    I'll take a stab at answering, Cogito.
    They use choice skirt. Your chances of getting sinew or gristle are the exact same if you were to go buy choice skirt and have it cleaned at any mexican mkt throughout Chicagoland. I've experienced a bit of gristle a handful of times in my hundreds of visits. Of that handful of times, two of those pieces of gristle were inedible. I do not like gristle in my steak, but I'm also not a person who freaks out after the first encounter of gristle at a meal. It would take three or four inedible bites for me to stop eating (or at least pay more attention to) a steak. I know ppl who freak out at gristle - kinda like I know ppl who leave the table if they encounter a bone in a piece of fish. It doesn't phase me one bit. I'd say if you encounter a piece of gristle at Las Asadas, then chances are that the next three times, will be smooth sailing. Remember, this ain't David Burkes we're talking about here. It's a SHACK serving tacos at 1.65 a pop. Tell you what, though, to paraphrase Ghazi - when you have some of their non-bucket stellar stuff, David Burke's seems like a complete waste of $ - the steak can be THAT good, IMO. It's simply another joint along the lines of Asadaro on Montrose, Guanajuato on Belmont. and Zacatacos (various.) IMO, it blows all of the standard Chicago sauteed pre-chopped garbage steak taquerias out of the water by a mile ( as do Asadero, Guanajuato, and Zacatacos.)
    It's just another option along those lines - which are the exceptions and not the rules of taquerias serving carne asada.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #21 - May 17th, 2009, 8:49 am
    Post #21 - May 17th, 2009, 8:49 am Post #21 - May 17th, 2009, 8:49 am
    stevez wrote:
    Sorry. I know nothing of burritos. I don't eat them. I usually try to order something authentically Mexican when I go to a taco joint, plus I don't like the gloppy beans-sour cream-rice combo.


    Do ppl really think they HAVE to order a burrito with all this stuff on them? If you order a burrito at a taqueria, the first thing they ask is what do you want on it? Why would you order something you don't want on it? I prefer tacos, myself, but ohhh wait. I'm pretty fluent in Spanish. I tell them exactly what I want, and if they are not really good with English then I speak in Spanish. I'm not puffing my chest out at all - that totally just came to me. I might be totally wrong, but -
    Did I hit the nail on the head?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #22 - May 17th, 2009, 2:03 pm
    Post #22 - May 17th, 2009, 2:03 pm Post #22 - May 17th, 2009, 2:03 pm
    A long overdue thread that i considered starting last Friday. . Thanks Seebee.

    I've been to Las Asadas on Lee Street approximately 10 times in the past 3 weeks. The fact that its less than a mile from Paradise Pup means the federal government should seize the land under Eminent Domain and require these places to stay open 24 hours. :mrgreen:

    In my experiences there, the steak has been incredibly juicy and very flavorful - to the point where i don't even add the green salsa. In my opinion their salsa is a weak offering and the steak with cliantro, onions and cheese (sometimes) is the perfect taco.

    I've also been taking my addiction home with me and nuking these tacos for 45 seconds in the microwave. they come out perfectly hot and still juicy.

    I have no idea where and how this addiction will end, but i just hope that it lasts a good long time and there are no family interventions.

    btw - the chile rellenos is decent. I'll admit that its only the second time i've ever tried one, and its less sensational than what you'd try at a sit-down Mex restaurant, but it was a nice little offering for dinner.

    Lastly - my Las Asadas experience hit a new high when i requested my tacos in flour tortillas instead of corn. Corn tortillas have a way of obscuring the taste of the meat in general in my opinion, whereas the flour allowed the steak to take center stage and wallop the taste buds.
  • Post #23 - May 17th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    Post #23 - May 17th, 2009, 3:06 pm Post #23 - May 17th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    stevez wrote:
    abf005 wrote:I "challenged" if you will, for someone to find me even a single instance of a burrito place making the tortillas by hand. That would be flour, not corn, and sized 16"-20" not 6"-8".


    Sorry. I know nothing of burritos. I don't eat them. I usually try to order something authentically Mexican when I go to a taco joint, plus I don't like the gloppy beans-sour cream-rice combo. I bow to your superior burrito knowledge. I will point out, however, that Nuevo Leon hand makes their flour tortillas. I can't comment on your size requirements.


    So my LTH schooling got out early this year? :P

    As to the "gloppy beans-sour cream-rice combo", that's only if you order the super burrito, the regular is "gloop" free, being served exactly like La Pasadita's with only meat, cilantro & onions. For those who are capable of exerting massive self control, watching their figure or limiting their red meat intakes, this would still be a bit of beef overload.

    Funny thing about this thread, the title was asking for a little overdue love, but so far its felt more like defending the honor of my betrothed...
  • Post #24 - May 18th, 2009, 12:26 am
    Post #24 - May 18th, 2009, 12:26 am Post #24 - May 18th, 2009, 12:26 am
    All of this chatter about Las Asadas led to the Picky Eater and I heading over here for an early dinner this evening. If there is one thing guaranteed to put a smile on his face, it's carne asada.
    Image
    New location of Las Asadas on Western
    As has been mentioned, despite the seemingly broad menu, the only thing to get here is steak:
    Image
    Kindly disregard the menu
    I don't even know where they prepare any of their other offerings, as far as the eye can see is carne and more carne...
    Image
    Image
    Always fresh carne at this location, it sits only long enough to rest before being served
    Oh, and the tortillas being microwaved? It depends upon the person who fixes your food, some guys nuke them, other grill them. If you make sure to ask, they are happy to toss them on the grill.
    Image
    Corn Tortillas getting the treatment they deserve
    The Picky Eater had carne tacos, served with onion, cilantro and some lime on the side.
    Image
    Happiness in a Corn Tortilla
    Since the subject of burritos came up in this thread, I ordered one in the name of fair and balanced research. I'll admit that I don't normally order burritos here, but I'm glad that I did. It was a great big bundle of au natural, grilled meat-bomb goodness, gently kissed with raw onion, cilantro and avocado (per my request). I realize that there are burrito naysayers in these parts, but I dare you to say no to this beauty:
    Image
    Image
    Resistance is futile.
    The picky eater tried, as usual, to switch plates with me. Usually I take pity on his dear, befuddled, picky self, but not today. I am officially a fan of the carne burrito at Las Asadas, it's pretty much perfect, look at that thing! All steak consumed in the name of this post was tender, screaming with flavor, tenderly charred, juicy and gristle free.

    The salsa is very fresh and clearly homemade as evidenced by my experience this evening. The batch I had at the table was spicy, but not so hot that it overwhelmed. I took half of my meat baby home with me and liberally doused it (with the salsa from behind the counter they packed up for me) and almost went through the roof. HOT does not even begin to describe the blistering backhand this second batch delivered. 30 minutes later and I'm still sweating and having heart palpitations! :P Test before applying, it clearly varies from batch to batch.
    Image

    I was worried the move to the fancier digs would affect the food, but this location of Las Asadas is still batting .500.

    Las Asadas
    2045 N. Western
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773.235.5538
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #25 - May 18th, 2009, 8:00 am
    Post #25 - May 18th, 2009, 8:00 am Post #25 - May 18th, 2009, 8:00 am
    Ursiform -

    Fantastic post and pics. Great inner burrito shot. You just made me second guess my lunch plan. Might have to visit the Des Plaines location now. That steak is just stellar when it's done right. Quick question, the gentleman in your picture with the white shirt on - do you recall if he had glasses?
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #26 - May 18th, 2009, 8:57 am
    Post #26 - May 18th, 2009, 8:57 am Post #26 - May 18th, 2009, 8:57 am
    Ursiform: if a picture can say a 1000 words, you just said well over 9000! Beautiful pictures and great post.

    Note the salsa; the seeds you see in the bottle are from chile pods and not tomatillos!! Its similar to a lightly blended Hatch New Mexico Green Chile salsa, very unpredictable in heat, but ooh such a nice pleasant tingly burn on the lips.

    One more thing; the tortillas, I almost completely forgot that they lightly grill the burrito tortillas on the grill too.

    If I had to pick a negative point about Las Asasds, it would be that the business hours arent long enough. I cant even imagine how many late night burritos I would have knocked down had they been open past ocho...
  • Post #27 - May 27th, 2009, 10:14 am
    Post #27 - May 27th, 2009, 10:14 am Post #27 - May 27th, 2009, 10:14 am
    it's my day off, and jeez you guys are making me hungry!

    :idea:

    puppies, let's go for a long ride to des plaines!!!
  • Post #28 - May 29th, 2009, 1:54 pm
    Post #28 - May 29th, 2009, 1:54 pm Post #28 - May 29th, 2009, 1:54 pm
    I worked around the corner (actually 5 miles away - but it was worth the drive) from the DesPlaines place a few years ago and went there all the time....top 5 in my book! New job and nowhere near there anymore, I was missing it huge. Now the Brookfield location is 2 miles from home and it's like being in love again....

    My Top 5 Burritos (in no particular order):
    Las Asadas (Des Plaines/Brookfield)
    El Alegre Burrito (Westchester)
    La Cocina Mexican Grill (Lake/Franklin - Downtown)
    Nuevo Leon (Pilsen)
    Tacos Del Rey (Lincolnshire - Milwaukee & Rt 22)
  • Post #29 - May 29th, 2009, 5:09 pm
    Post #29 - May 29th, 2009, 5:09 pm Post #29 - May 29th, 2009, 5:09 pm
    stoutisgoodfood wrote:I worked around the corner (actually 5 miles away - but it was worth the drive) from the DesPlaines place a few years ago and went there all the time....top 5 in my book! New job and nowhere near there anymore, I was missing it huge. Now the Brookfield location is 2 miles from home and it's like being in love again....

    My Top 5 Burritos (in no particular order):
    Las Asadas (Des Plaines/Brookfield)
    El Alegre Burrito (Westchester)
    La Cocina Mexican Grill (Lake/Franklin - Downtown)
    Nuevo Leon (Pilsen)
    Tacos Del Rey (Lincolnshire - Milwaukee & Rt 22)


    I could be wrong, but I thought Tacos Del Rey (Lincolnshire - Milwaukee & Rt 22) had closed a few years ago. Does anyone have a recent experience to verify? Anyway, as I recall, it was pretty much like every other Taqueria's burrito that I've ever experienced, OK but not amazing; meaning that they griddle fry the meat.

    However, when talking about griddle fried meat joints in Lake County, the two Tacos El Rey De Oro‎ locations in Libertyville & Waukegan seem a bit better than average for the area.

    The key for me, is that char grilled skirt steak, and only Las Asadas on your list does it. Since you seem to like them, you should give La Pasadita a try as well, I'm sure they would make your list.

    Take care-
  • Post #30 - July 14th, 2009, 2:27 am
    Post #30 - July 14th, 2009, 2:27 am Post #30 - July 14th, 2009, 2:27 am
    Went to the new location on western last week and loved it, much cleaner and nicer to dine in than the old shack that was further down on western. To my relief, the steak taco's are still excellent, and although Las Asadas may have brached off from La Pasadita for steak taco's I think Las Asada's is superior overall. Does anyone want to comment on the difference, between the Las Asada's Carne Asada taco and the La Pas? Of course, there are 3 La Pas locations but I have noticed that the Las Asadas steak tacos have less gristle and more char, and that's why I prefer them.


    Las Asadas
    2045 N. Western
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773.235.5538
    Last edited by FoodSnob77 on July 14th, 2009, 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    I'm not picky, I just have more tastebuds than you... ; )

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