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August 28, 2007 / Tony

Lunch at Juano’s

Juano’s is a little Mexican chain with three locations in the Fargo-Moorhead area.  I went for lunch at the downtown Fargo location and was pleasantly surprised.  For lunch, it offers a taco bar that includes soup, hard shell tacos, soft shells tacos, and some bars. 

For an appetizer, as is the case with every other Mexican restaurant on the planet, I think, chips and salsa were brought out to the table.  In this case, there was a choice of two salsa: a freshly made concoction of diced tomatoes, cilantro, and spicy peppers and a cooked, pureed salsa.  Both salsas were good; although, I think the fresh salsa could have benefitted from using tomatoes from a local farmer’s market instead of the rather insipid tomatoes they did use.  And the chips, perhaps by design, were just not that crisp.  They seemed just a bit stale. 

After a few chips, I went to the buffet where the soup was definitely the star.  It was a chicken and rice soup with just a hint of tomato.  What made it so outstanding was the exceptional broth.  It had a very nice deep chicken flavor and just the right amount of salt and cumin.  Paired with the tender shredded chicken and rice as well as some cilantro and fresh fried tortilla strips, it was a truly wonderful soup. 

The tacos were also good but certainly not in the “wonderful” strata that the soup was in.  The taco bar offered either hard or soft shells and their choice of chicken, beef, or refried beans.  For toppings, there was sour cream, shredded cheese (a jack and cheddar blend), diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and shredded lettuce.  Put together, these ingredients made a fair taco.  One could nit-pick with the ingredients-the chicken seemed a bit dry and the tomatoes should have been much better this time of the year-but for an all-you-can-eat taco bar, it was really pretty good.  Here’s a picture of my plate:

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The bars were ok but really not to write home about.  There was a choice of a brownie or a carrot cake bar.  I had the latter and it was moist and sweet enough to be palatable but far from being anything exquisite. 

Overall, I liked my experience at Juano’s.  The food was good and with a little more attention to some small details, it could really be good.  Yet, at $9.50 a person for a taco bar, one might think they should be really good already. 

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One Comment

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  1. Katelyn / Aug 28 2007 12:49 pm

    i love carrot cake!

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