Calle Cherokee

Mexico in twenty minutes or less.

This is mojara dorada, and I ordered it when I returned to Garduño's on a busy Sunday afternoon. Mojarra, as it's more commonly spelled, is actually the name for a family of about 40 different species of saltwater fish. (We throw around the "snapper" label in much the same way.) The mojarra on my plate was about ten inches long, with plump fillets. The kitchen had made a half-dozen incisions down the length of each fillet — which increased the surface area for the light, tempura-like batter and sped cooking time.

The fish had been cooked perfectly. Skin and batter were crisp, with a slightly peppery seasoning. The flesh was sweet and incredibly moist. Of course, the mojarra hadn't been pulled out of the ocean that morning, but it was easy to pretend.

On my return visit to Garduño's, both my fiancée and our friend ordered from the selection of combination platters. Everything I sampled from their plates was great, especially a pork tamale slathered in a mild green tomatillo salsa. Too often, even at otherwise excellent Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, tamales suffer from bland or mealy masa, but Garduño's had a rich corn flavor that stood up to the salsa and the pork.

You'll quickly feel like family at Garduño's.
Jennifer Silverberg
You'll quickly feel like family at Garduño's.

Location Info


El Torito Supermercado

2753 Cherokee St.
St. Louis, MO 63118

Category: Retail

Region: St. Louis - South City


Taqueria El Torito
2753 Cherokee Street, 314-771-8648.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily (closed Thu.)

Carnitas torta $5
Chorizo taco $1.50
Mole con guajolote $8.99
(Mexican) Coca-Cola $1.50

Garduño's Mexican Food
2737 Cherokee Street, 314-776-2315.
Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.

Guacamole (4 ounces) $2.40
Chorizo taco $1.50
Tamale $1.75
Mojarra dorada$9.99

For those unfamiliar with or maybe a bit daunted by Cherokee Street, Garduño's is a perfect starting point. You get chips and a thin but scorching salsa when you sit down. You can cool the salsa's fire with creamy, lime-sprinkled homemade guacamole while you choose from a very wide selection of combination platters, house specialties, tacos and tortas. You can even — if you have room — finish with fried ice cream.

Careful, though. Once you start visiting Cherokee, you may find it difficult to stop. I've visited every day for a week — and I still haven't crossed the street.

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