Ever since Barbacoa Mexican Grill opened in 1998, ordering a meal has turned into a creative pursuit. At the fingertips of everyone who walks in the door is an edible artist's palette that they draw upon as they orchestrate the creation of their dream burrito, burrito bowl, or tacos. Inspiration begins with a foundation: hand-trimmed barbacoa beef slow cooked in a chipotle paste, shredded pork with roasted pineapple and a honey glaze, or even steamed vegetables. Then a rainbow of salsas, a choice of beans, and individually monogrammed grains of rice combine to create a fully personalized meal.
Now spread throughout Utah, Barbacoa Mexican Grill has also branched out beyond its inimitable meals. It strives to establish and strengthen communities by working with local nonprofit and charitable organizations. The primary focus of the restaurants' grassroots endeavors falls on the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles and the support of underserved children—evidenced by their cooperation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah.
Terraces of tortillas tower over simmering mole, a special recipe that has been passed down for three generations, on tables in the 15-year-old eatery with a family atmosphere. Here, in Blue Iguana's kitchens, Chef Castillo imparts the culinary arts of the Aztec empire to his team of cooks using his knowledge of Chihuahua, Mexico. In this province, families fiercely guard such traditions to honor their forebears and preserve their culture's legacy for future generations. Castillo specializes in mole recipes, which teem with rich ingredients such as chocolate, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Guests seeking a lighter meal can customize tacos with a choice of more than 10 fillings, including grilled yellowfin, charbroiled sirloin, sautéed mushrooms, and spicy pork chorizo. The margaritas are mixed with the restaurant's brimming top-shelf tequilas such as Patron Silver and Don Julio. Diners can also visit the Park City location for breakfast dishes.
Nacho's Libre Mexican Restaurant taps into traditional Mexican culture through a varied menu of seafood and meat dishes wrapped in tortillas and paired with imported beers. After entering through the bright-pink façade, guests take in the dining room’s paintings and servers occasionally clad in a Mexican luchador’s traditional mask, cape, and Van Halen T-shirt. Chefs craft mole sauce in 10 variations of chilies, spices, and chocolate, and diners can create their own platter combinations of burritos, enchiladas, and chimichangas. Nacho's Libre also slings fare for quick delivery as well as catering for parties, meetings, and ocean-liner christenings.
Though it's easy to see a lot of traditional Mexican dishes upon entering La Puente, the best dishes are the ones that aren't so easy to identify. That's because they're smothered in delicious sauces?specialties ranging from burritos and tacos to sirloin steaks come blanketed in a tempting helping of salsa, mole, cheese, or other savory concoctions. But not every dish is served smothered. Staff also grill shrimp for fajitas and craft steamy bowls of menudo, a Mexican breakfast delicacy. For dessert, the chefs make fried ice cream with a a combination of hot oil and a temporary cancellation of the laws of physics. Creamy horchata, icy virgin or alcoholic margaritas, and cold pours of domestic and import beers fill glasses to accompany the zesty flavors.
When they moved to Utah from Guanajuato, Mexico, the Armentas dug into their family's classified recipe books to find dishes that would satisfy a hungry fan base. Nowadays, one-dollar margaritas and colorful decor cultivate a festive, laid-back atmosphere at Mi Ranchito Grill, but the Armentas' commitment to fresh ingredients is as strict and unwavering as their secrecy around meals' formulas. A riot of color splashes across the kaleidoscopic interior, with vines of multicolored paper strung between archways. Teal neon lights, harvested from naturally-occurring rainbows, bounce onto exposed brick, illuminating diners savoring chicken nachos, garlic-butter shrimp served with two types of chili sauce, and custom combos of tacos, enchiladas, and tamales.
Burritos. Fajitas. Enchiladas. The chefs at Cafe Silvestre make them all, plating hearty portions of Mexican standbys that each pack a flavorful, spice-filled punch. Like a Norman Rockwell painting of kids playing video games, the menu keeps an eye on tradition while catering to modern American tastes, with Mexican feasts of huevos rancheros and chorizo tostadas served alongside jalapeño poppers and sirloin steaks with fries.