On any given weekday, when the clock strikes twelve, hoards of cubicle dwellers swarm the streets of downtown Minneapolis to converse and feast on food truck cuisine. It’s like moths to a flame. Or perhaps a zombie state of mind: Must. Eat. Food. Made. In. Truck. It truly is the Age of Street Food. Side note: Hats off to World Street Kitchen for enforcing proper line etiquette. (You know who you are, sidewalk monopolizers.)
Mexican delights and delicacies have been a part of this phenomenon for years and years. Let’s go ahead and call them trailblazers. No extraneous frills; just quick, honest cooking is what people are looking for more than ever. Andale Taqueria & Mercado in Richfield may not be on four wheels, but their counter-service restaurant with street-style, authentic fare has everything food trucks offer — and then some.
For starters, the parking is prolific (a decent-sized lot considering the location), and outdoor seating bridges the gap between the eatery and market, which adds a nice touch. It’s summer in Minnesota, after all. Hands down, the goat taco ($2, above) and the al pastor taco ($1.89) stole the show. Atop two soft corn tortillas resided perfectly tender, fine-grained textured goat (chivo) with a slight hint of mint. The spicy, marinated, mouth-watering pork made you want to become a better person — it was that good. Each taco was accompanied by a hit of (lime) acid, onion, cilantro, and creamy, spicy avocado salsa that provided harmonious textural contrast.
The restaurant’s adventurous side doesn’t take a back seat. The beef tripe taco ($2, above) was dense and chewy, with a subtle taste. Some see it as a delicacy; many would opt out. The mole sauce over the beef brisket enchiladas ($8.49) packed a mean punch of flavor and complexity with just the right amount of chocolate. And the restaurant’s guacamole had a decent flavor profile but it was slightly on the too creamy side and the murky green coloring was distracting. (Baby food, anyone?) Considering adding chips to a side of guacamole increased the bill by $3+, I was expecting flecks of gold in them. Sadly, there was no gold and tasted a little above average.
With lick-your-plate-clean tacos for under $2, a friendly staff and a market, bakery, and butcher next door, Andale is an ideal stop for an authentic Mexican experience nestled in the suburbs.
OWNER: Fernanado Mellado
HOURS: Mon – Thu 7am – 11pm Fri – Sun 7am – 3am
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $7.59-$11.59 for entrees, $1.89-$2 for tacos, $1.79-$5 for sides