Restaurant Review: Los Guachos Taqueria

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Unless you enjoy a frosty curbside squatting session, 'tis not the season for snacking on street eats. Fortunately, Los Guachos, possibly the most beloved taco truck out there, has recently set up shop in a real sit-down eatery.

For background, let me note that last spring when the Taco Trucks Columbus team indulged me in a special tour of their favorite Mexican street vendors, they could not contain their excitement as we approached the giant, gleaming metal Los Guachos setup.

Team members even confessed to dreaming about Los Guachos' tantalizing comida. The reason for all this fervor was Los Guachos' famous tacos al pastor. It was love at first bite for me too.

So as I entered the little Godown Los Guachos restaurant last week, a smile split my face when I saw the juice-leaking al pastor meat stacked way up on a mammoth spit. Basically shawarma done Mexican-style, Los Guachos' authentic al pastor is a layered and bulging tower of gently marinated, pink-tinged pork slices capped by a pineapple and seductively rotating like a dancing siren.

As for the rest of the counter-ordering joint, its lack of beer and margarita service was compounded by a noticeably keep-your-coat-on cold temperature. On the plus side were neat and unique, sunflower-themed, extra-large and elaborately carved wooden tables and chairs.

To eat, there are several damn cheap variations of meat and melted Mexican cheese, such as Volcanes ($2 - sort of like beanless tostadas); burritos ($6); tortas ($6 - huge Mexican sandwiches with all the fixins); and alambres ($7 to $10 - giant platters of DIY taco materials). Meatwise, there's OK chicken and beef, but if you're at Los Guachos, you need to be digging into their killer al pastor.

Probably the most popular Los Guachos items are the crave-tastic Gringas ($3.50). These are generous piles of succulent al pastor pork on a toasty flour tortilla topped with onions and cilantro plus sexily melted and crusted-up cheese. A must!

Big eaters should opt for the feeds-four alambre with the come-on title (at least to someone like me) of Solo para Tragones ("only for gluttons," $10). It's an insane and addictive assemblage of asada (grilled beef bits), that lovely al pastor, sauteed onions and mushrooms plus melted cheese - all spilling over onto lots of good corn tortillas. Skirting the plate are tangy, defanged, seared cactus paddles.

As I boxed up the alambre's copious leftovers - and ordered another gorgeous gringa for the road -I noticed the place didn't feel so chilly any more. I exited happy knowing I could now cop an irresistible gringa (or delicious sacks of stuff to go) no matter what the weather, and without a lengthy trip clear across town.

Los Guachos Taqueria

5221 Godown Rd., Northwest Side