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El Canelo Review

LeBron has Taco Tuesdays, but we have Taco Thursdays (and maybe Saturday, Sunday & Monday too)

El Canelo's Pork Rind Tacos
El Canelo's Pork Rind Tacos

After briefly watching a content creator inhale tacos for lunch while chatting during a livestream, I was hankering for Mexican food, specifically lengua (cow tongue.) I scoured the internet for authentic Mexican cuisine, not any of that fast food stuff and landed on El Canelo. The food looked too good to pass up & it was well reviewed.


The prices are a bit higher than you'd expect for a Mexican restaurant, but in this economy, I don't blame them. The dinners are around $10 each & tacos are about $2.50 each. With things like a medium Elote being $3 they are still rather affordable so there's hardly anything to complain about. 4/5

Customer Service:

They had my order bagged and ready to go by the time I got there. Everything was exactly as I ordered & packed neatly. 5/5

"The abundance of cilantro and onions is delectably eye catching."

Pork Rind Tacos:

Appearance -

These are great looking tacos which is exactly why I picked El Canelo. The abundance of cilantro and onions is delectably eye catching. The one minor gripe I have is that the pork rinds are soft sponges. I thought they might fry the pork rinds to give them a firmer texture. 4/5

Taste -

The first bite fills your mouth with a medium intensity heat. The pork rinds seem to have been marinated in a hot sauce. Taste wise you can hardly taste the pork rinds due to the marinade but it's a fantastic marinade that sets your mouth a light with tons of flavor. The green and red sauces that are included seem to be homemade, but are a bit too watery. The sauces trick you by slipping under the radar with their initial mild spices, but a few seconds later you're hit with a wave of intense heat that is even spicier than the marinade. 4/5

El Canelo Beef Cheek Tacos
Beef Cheek Tacos

Beef Cheek Tacos:

Appearance -

Looks just as good as the pork skin tacos. Plenty of cilantro, onions and meat with a double corn tortilla. 4/5

Taste -

Wow, after the first set of tacos was such a knockout I was expecting more. These are so bland and unseasoned it's it's crazy. The sauce does not help. Is soft, but not spongy. Overall I think they just might have been called off guard by somebody ordering beef cheek and didn't have the time to properly season it. 2/5

"El Canelo really takes the time to present a dish correctly."


Appearance -

Another beautifully done dish. El Canelo really takes the time to present a dish correctly. There is the perfect amount of Chile on top with a layer of mayonnaise & cheese followed by corn. As you dig down and you don't miss anything. They even have it in a styrofoam cup so that it is exactly like you would have it on the street. 5/5

Taste -

I don't know what to say here because usually elote is a rather easy dish to make and get correct and they definitely have something here, but I believe the Mayo is where this dish kind of falls apart. You don't get that tangy sweetness that you have from the street that makes it seem more like a child's snack. Instead El Canelo goes for more of an adult approach that is more hearty & what you'd expect blending mayonnaise, corn, chile & cheese. 3/5

Lengua Burrito Dinner:

Appearance -

Maybe I'm a bit spoiled, but this looks rather basic. From the rise to the beans nothing stands out. Even the amount of rice and beans that you get seems kind of low for the price that you're paying which is over $10. The burrito itself is wrapped in layers with the meat mostly at the bottom and everything else filling in between. 3/5

Taste -

Another kind of disappointing dish and the ingredients themselves are fresh to come but the language does it seem to be marinated that well if at all. Looking at the flour tortilla, I thought it might have been uncooked and biting into it confirm that it was. The beans are nothing to cry home about as they are bland. The rice has an odd flavor to it that gives hints of southwestern, but I can't place it. The rice is definitely over seasoned as you can taste a bit too much salt. 3/5

Overall, El Canelo is a place that won't break the bank. There are the hits and misses though. It started off strong with the pork rind tacos. Well I wouldn't go as far to say I wouldn't mind having those pork rind tacos everyday, every once in a while wouldn't be too bad. It's unfortunate that as I continued my quest to satisfy my hunger, the food became noticeably worse yet maintained that high level of presentation for the most part. Hopefully this was just an off day.

3.5 out of 5 stars

El Canelo

700 Burnham Ave

Calumet City, IL 60409

(708) 933-7292

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