Ernesto's Taco Shop: An L.A. Food Spot in the M.I.A.

The crunch of freshly made tacos mix with the sounds of a Spanish telenovela as you take in the scents of charred meat and sweet onions. But my friends, we're not in Mexico, we're dining at Ernesto's Taco Shop.

Ernesto's has always held close to its Mexican roots. In fact, the passionate manager of the Kendall location, Rainer Bierdeste, boasts of his family's rich heritage.

This is his father-in-law's establishment, after all. It teems  with vibrant colors from the lightly waving Mexican flags on the ceiling to the vivid crimson of the fresh tomato salsa adorning a plate.

But Ernesto and it's L.A. counterpart, Roberto's Taco Shop, are more than just pleasing to the eye, they create palate teasing sensations that we were more than happy to try.

Starting with its taco salad. Who doesn't love an crispy fried edible bowl? We're not sure we want to know the people who don't. This was hardly a standard lettuce and taco meat salad, it was a bouquet of cheeses, juicy chopped tomato with a heaping side of tender slightly scorched churrasco steak. It was incredibly filling and could easily be shared by two.

Rainer informed us that "Ernesto's prides itself in sticking with the classics" by preserving their original menu items. The only new item offered is the Fiesta Plate, a combo platter that's chock full of everything except the kitchen sink. Hey, we're not complaining. We're sure these plates fly out the door during Ernesto's 24-hour service, what with being so close to the students of Miami-Dade College's Kendall Campus.

Simple things are most often the best. Ernesto's seems to have worked out how to run a successful business, and other aspiring restaurateurs should take note: Include local ingredients in traditional fare, and you'll have a place that can't seem to serve the food fast enough. Ernesto, we tip our sombrero to you.

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