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Antojitos el Toril

Update 4/15/12: Antojitos el Toril is closed.

In a word: Not for the chili impaired.

The specs: #0244
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; discussion at the Daily Page; reviews at Fearful Symmetries 3/26/2007 and 8/13/2007, Fringe Foods, Cap Times, Yelp, Isthmus; Toril on Urbanspoon

Latest Antojitos el Toril news and reviews at del.icio.us

JM ate the enchiladas rojas with a lemonade.
John ate the enchiladas verdes with an horchata.
Nichole ate the carnitas with an horchata.
The bill was $33, or $11/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Antojitos el Toril an A; John gave Antojitos el Toril an A- (see our grading rubric).

Antojitos el Toril

The moment we disembarked from our car in the small parking lot next to Antojitos el Toril, the smell of fresh tortillas hit us. This warmth set the stage for a welcoming experience. The place was mostly empty when we arrived, but a few other diners filtered in while others came for takeout. During dinner we watched a Spanish-dubbed version of Match Point in the small dining room (formerly of Allie B's).

Real chips and salsa

The salsas were awesome - the thick red version had a lot of fire to it, but no shortage of nuance. Likewise the tomatillo salsa was fresh and surprisingly cooler than its red cousin. JM really appreciated his (slightly watery) lemonade during this course. The chips themselves are a titch thicker than most, but were surely homemade, and therefore yummy.

Enchiladas rojas

This is the last known photo of JM's enchiladas rojas. Dinner, we hardly knew ye - the platter was gone in a flash. The enchiladas were very filling and very tasty despite being veggie-friendly (meat is not something JM feels the need to forgo often).  The spices built themselves into a fever pitch slowly but with moments of relief and cool, courtesy of the ample cheese, lettuce and sour cream.

Enchiladas verdes

John's enchiladas were likewise appreciated, both in quality and quantity. JM had set too high a standard for cleaning off the plate, so the server gave John a jokingly hard time about not having finished his dinner. (John later tried to get Nichole to "forget" her leftovers in his car, but she managed to keep them out of his clutches.)

The high point of John's meal was the homemade horchata. Mm, mm, mm. John would happily come back to Antojitos despite a fierce loyalty, bordering on slavish devotion, to Juanita's Tacos on Rimrock Road (which is not on The List for some reason - we hope it gets added before we get to the J's).

Carnitas

The carnitas plate came with a generous quantity (6) of warm corn tortillas and more pork than Nichole could handle. (Why do other places give you only, like, 3 torillas?  Is there a masa shortage we're not aware of?) The small, dark, crispy bits of pork were the best, crackling with goodness. The rice was just like homemade plus some peas and carrots, though the beans were kind of watery.

Don't miss this place, especially on the weekends -- it is just good.

Comments

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I had to go there today as a result of not being able to get their tacos out of my head. Thanks a lot, JM and Nichole.

No, really, thanks a lot. Did that sound sarcastic? Because I'll take any excuse to go to Antojitos el Toril.

Their service bears mentioning. I'm not sure if the two people that work the front desk are a couple (I think they are), but they're super friendly and very welcoming. That warmth adds a lot to what is already a great joint.

PS chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos chorizo tacos!!

I love this place. The cow tongue tacos are awesome as well. I've never had anything here that wasn't good. All the bowl of menudo was more tripe than I could handle in one sitting. The gorditas are the best.

That should say "although" not "all"

When I first read your review, I got excited about the possibility of finding a good Mexican restaurant in Madison. However, I then realized that I had been there two years ago and it was not good. Let me restate that...it was good for Midwestern Mexican food, but not good compared to Mexican food you can get close to the border in CA or AZ. This is a warning...don't get your hopes up if you are from out of town and have had good Mexican food.

Mmm...that's good condescension! Left-handers everywhere appreciate the sincerity of your compliment.

Was in that part of town yesterday around lunch and thought I'd give them a try. I have to agree the service is extremely charming.

I asked for the hot salsa, and for my taste it didn't have much complexity or burn. It also had a wierd chalky taste to it, and looked kinda dried out, if that is possible. Wasn't impressed with the regular red salsa eitehr, tasted alot like Pace mild.

I always benchmark a Mexican restaraunt by the pork tacos and these were pretty well flavored. The meat had a crispiness to it but wasn't dry.

On the other hand, the chicken gordita I had was so bland that you could serve it at a nursing home without offending the residents. The shredded chicken had the flavor boiled out of it, and the promised "homemade tortilla" was a flat little bun that wasn't baked all the way through. Besides the sour cream, there was no sauce or seasoning with the gordita and it was overall very dry. I slathered it with the green sauce that came with the chips and soildered on. Maybe this is one of thier weaker dishes.

Definately had some interesting dishes that I would try on another visit.

As a die-hard fan, I totally agree that their standard chicken is not their strong suit.

But try the steak torta next time.

The blessing/curse of a place like this (literally mom-n-pop) is that things can go bland, if not bad. Staffing, supplies, capital, etc., are all a lot more in flux than they are at even a smallish place like Laredo's or El Pescador.

Glad you're not totally crossing them off your list. They're really quite good more often than not!

I love when people complain about how food in the Midwest is not as good as where the food originated. If you want authentic French food...go to France. If you want authentic Mexican...go to Mexico. If you want authentic Laotian food...go to Laos. Otherwise stop being a snob and take it for what it is...the closest thing you are going to get in Wisconsin.

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