- 800 1st St. Suite A, West Des Moines, IA, 50265
- Overall User Rating:
- (3 ratings)
- 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. daily
Taco lovers take note — Taqueria Sonora, which opened last spring, is another notable spot to put in your taco rotation.
Who/What: A cheerful sea-blue color scheme, tweaked with a few stock Mexican-themed decorations, brightens up the super-casual spot. Though the ambience is not exactly date-worthy, it is comfortable, thanks to a good mix of booths and table seating.
Menu: As the restaurant’s name suggests, tacos headline the menu, but there’s much more, including other tortilla-based dishes (burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas), tortas (Mexican sandwiches), plus salads and seafood entrees.
The extensive array of taco fillings helps distinguish this menu. Choose fish and shrimp (battered or not), beef (ground, shredded or chopped marinated steak), pork al pastor (cooked in a seasoned sauce), carnitas (roasted pork), tripe, tongue, chicharrón (pork rinds), goat, lamb and more.
Best bites: Go for the tacos. We were especially impressed by the beer-battered fish tacos (made with tilapia) and the grilled shrimp tacos. For something off the beaten path, try the gorditas instead of regular tortillas. These super-filling fried corn-meal pockets (they work a little like pita bread) bring irresistible warmth, flavor and crunch. This is also a good place to give goat a go — the moist, meaty shreds satisfied and intrigued in a delicately funky kind of way.
Also notable here is the array of salsas, including the fiery habanero salsa, a fresh pico de gallo, a pleasantly bitter puya chile salsa and others. The server will bring you two or three with your meal, but more are available upon request. Make sure to ask for the habanero-pickled onions for a sweet-hot relish.
The other tortilla-based dishes, including a carnitas burrito and a beef quesadilla proved satisfying, though standard.
Less successful: Of the seafood entrees we tasted, the camarones al mojo de ajo, bringing sweet shrimp in a glossy garlic sauce, clearly bested the nearly flavorless tilapia served in a surprisingly dull Veracruz sauce of tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Margaritas hail from the sweet school, and while they bring nice, fresh flavors of orange and lime, I tasted very little by way of tequila.
Glitches: Service here ranges from understandably slow (good, freshly made food takes time) to excruciatingly slow. (Should it really take this long to get a glass of water?) At dinner, two diners received their entrees a good 10 minutes before the second two diners received theirs.
Bottom line: Go for the great tacos, gorditas and fascinating salsas.