Many Mexican restaurants utilize the same basic menu format: house specialties, a la carte and combinations. The combinations create a rare complication -- we find ourselves trying to find the perfect grouping of sides, and the entree is really secondary. After all, it's all delicious.
If it wasn't for this quest for side dish harmony, Gut Check might have never tried the Taquitos Mexicanos at El Indio. We originally ordered them strictly because they're accompanied by rice, beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, lettuce and guacamole. In other words, everything you could ask for from a Mexican meal (short of sopapillas drenched in honey, but really, this dish doesn't leave much room for dessert).
Not to imply that the quantity is what sets this dish apart -- it's just what drew us in. When Gut Check thinks of taquitos, we tend to call to mind vignettes of a row of them slowly turning in unison beside cheese stuffed hot dogs at a gas station. This, we learned, is not fair. All taquitos are not made equal, and the beef taquitos at El Indio are superb. They're soft in the middle, crunchy along the edges and full of flavorful beef. They're perfect for scooping up beans and rice, and maybe a tiny dollop of guacamole. After all, that's what brought us together in the first place.
El Indio 9865 Manchester Rd. 314-968-9012 $7.99
Beginning last year, RFT restaurant critic Ian Froeb counted down -- in no particular order -- 100 of his favorite dishes in St. Louis. Now Gut Check has taken up where he left off. Check back frequently as we detail our 100 favorites, and don't hesitate to send us yours, too, either via the comments thread or at firstname.lastname@example.org.