Back in the fall of 2008 we visited El Parian and raved about their Americanized Mexican fare. It’s been suggested several times in the surveys I run yearly that I should revisit restaurants reviewed in the past to give them an update. While I was generally against that for a variety of reasons in the past, it seemed like a good idea here being that we continually recommend it to others looking for Americanized Mexican (as it’s considered the area’s best) and we hadn’t visited in nearly four years and we needed to make sure we were still recommending a location worthy of our praise. In other words, we didn’t want to have this restaurant to end up like Piccolo’s Pizza in Eagan did.
We arrived around 7:45 and sat down at one of the three tables outside. The menu is still ungodly huge and overwhelming with many items very, very, very similar to the next. Take for example the Texas Fajitas vs some other sort of Fajitas. The only difference is that one has three types of protein and the other has an option for one of the three. I seriously had to read them 5 or 6x before figuring out why one was a few dollars more. As I moved throughout the menu, I stuck to the main pages. It wasn’t until it was time to order that I noticed several menu items down at the bottom that were all in Spanish and had no description. I started to Google what the words meant and found a variety of shrimp dishes and soups as well as tacos and more than were apparently more traditional Mexican items. In the end I wasn’t in the mood for shrimp or soup on a hot day outside so I went with their three fish tacos. The Wife grabbed a quesadilla of some sort and we got another for The Rooster.
While we waited we munched on the usual salsas and chips. I asked for some hot sauce and a separate bowl so I could heat up my own salsa and instead he brought out a freshly made habanero pico de gallo which I then added to the salsa. Everyone knows it’s rare that I find a restaurant which doesn’t know my tolerance for heat that can deliver a product like El Parian did there. The fresh flavors were spot on and the searing heat was just what I needed. My nose was running and I was in heaven. Being that I work close by, I can see this as a great way to warm up on cold winter afternoons during lunch. If you like heat, get their hot salsa. Yum!
The Rooster’s meal was out first and wasn’t anything exciting yet the cheese quesadilla was nice and wasn’t stuffed with flavorless cheese as is so often the case. He ate quite a bit of it and seemed pleased with it all. The Wife’s quesadilla with a guacamole salad wasn’t a quesadilla at all. In fact, it was basically a fully stuffed fajita. Full of peppers, onions, tender and marinated chicken, I have to admit I was impressed. She was only able to get half of the way through it and had to box up the rest to take home. While she at first was clamoring for dessert, there simply wasn’t any room when she was done and she left with a smile on her face.
My fish tacos, pictured above, surpassed even my greatest expectations. I was honestly shocked at how much food appeared on three simple tacos. The avocado was excellent and the pico de gallo was fresh. I loved the fact that they gave me a full half lime to do my squeezing being that I can never have enough lime. However, rightfully so, the fish was the star of the show. Usually when I get fish tacos, say at Sea Salt (a restaurant which should have excellent fish tacos), they are boring and overdone. These, however, were lightly and flavorfully breaded. There was plenty of them, almost too much in fact and for the first time in my life I can actually say I was blown away by fish tacos.
Even with all the surprises we had last night, the biggest came right as we were finishing ordering. There was another page to the menu I missed assuming it was drinks and dessert. Nope, they had an entire page of very traditional Hispanic items including tortas (beef tongue no less!), standard tacos, etc. Oh my god! We had restumbled upon the most perfect Mexican restaurant in town…one which caters to The Wife’s desire for Americanized Mexican and one that provides me with the food items I love too.
We will most definitely be back and soon. While we already raved about El Parian in the past, it gets our double-stamp of approval again times three. If you haven’t already checked it out, seriously get yourselves over there and try it now. It was simply phenomenal.
Have you tried El Parian in Eagan? If so what did you think? What do you think about me revisiting old places and reviewing them again? Which do you prefer: more traditional Hispanic foods or Americanized Mexican? Whatever you have to say go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
1960 Cliff Lake Rd
Eagan, MN 55122