Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

A cool – or is it sweet? – place for real Sonoran beach fare

Citizen Staff Writer
Cheap eats: Sonora Querida Asadero



What: Sonora Querida Asadero

Address and phone: 4749 S. 12th Ave., 889-0923

Hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

What was ordered: Ceviche Tostada ($3), two Marlin Tacos ($3 each), Carne Rajas Tacos ($3), Caramelo ($2), Limonada ($1.50), and Jamaica ($1.50) for a total of $18.38 including tax, within our Cheap Eats goal of a meal for two for less than $20

Comments: ¡Que suave!

My 10-year-old daughter keeps telling me to stop using the word cool, because these days, cool stands for “constipated, out-of-touch, out-of-style loser,” she says. If I’m impressed with something, rather than calling it cool, I should call it sweet, she says.

I can’t call something sweet. It just sounds too cute and cuddly to be uttered by someone as jaded and misanthropic as me. Fortunately, there’s an excellent Spanish alternative – suave – which is more literally translated as smooth, but covers the same ground as cool.

And this South Side taco joint is very cool indeed.

The fare is authentically coastal Sonoran, with a nice selection of beef and seafood tacos, tostadas, tortas and sopas.

The Ceviche Tostada was probably my least favorite selection on a recent visit, which is saying something, because it was one of the better ceviche tostadas I’ve had on the South Side. Though the portions of seafood were moderate, the octopus, shrimp and fish were fresh and bouncy, the pico was mild and unassuming, and the corn tortilla was fried to order.

My companion had high praise for the Marlin Taco, noting that it was “exquisitely infused with the sensation of standing at a taco stand on the beach at Guaymas.” The marlin chunks were reddened by a tangy, zingy sauce, and the thick, flour taco shell was nicely grilled yet slightly puffy.

My favorite was the Taco Rajas. The teaming of good carne asada, fresh roasted peppers and melted Mexican white cheese had the kind of roasty, salty, slightly greasy payoff that so many beef tacos lack.

All six selections we devoured came to the table somewhat mild and unassuming, which made for ideal customization with the diverse condiment tray delivered to the table. The tray included red and avocado salsa, cilantro, onions and limes, allowing us to trick out and crank up the flavor profiles as we saw fit.

The look, feel and service here are no-nonsense. They don’t have to try to sell you on the authenticity with trinkets, decorations and other trappings. The food supplies all the authenticity you need to be transported to that little off-the-beaten-track place in San Carlos or Puerto Peñasco, the place you seek out even before you unpack the car at the hotel.

And that’s very cool, and maybe even sweet.

Service: Tableside service was friendly, prompt and bilingual, which comes in handy for gringos, as the menu is in Spanish.

Bar: no

Children’s menu: no

Web site: no

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