The Coast News Group

Pleasant surprises await at Vista’s El Asadero

Just between us, El Asadero used to be a dump. We were surprised to find a new décor, a new owner, and the best flan in Vista when we visited recently.
Owner/chef Reuben Razo, one of three brothers who lay claim to the former title, has become a U.S. citizen after emigrating from Guadalajara some years ago, and his birthplace is reproduced in a mural on the rear wall of the restaurant.
That mural joins one left by the previous owner that depicted the less-than-elegant shopping center where the eatery is situated.
A lot of soap and water has unearthed some pretty nice features: a faux-brick and plaster wall, a tile floor, 100 (so we exaggerate) or so ceiling fans, some nicely upholstered booths, and a soon-to-be bona fide bar for the daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.
Because Reuben and a friend designed a fine Web site,, and his dad, Jesus, is a singer, well — needless to say his dad sings on the Web site. Bring it up. You’ll enjoy.
The menu is a work of art. We had heck’s own trouble deciding what to order. John had a chicken tostada, an ample dish, for $3.50. We ordered a side of guacamole to go with our chips and salsa at the start. The chips were warm and crisp, the salsa was John’s treat. (I call him asbestos mouth. He eats jalapeno pepper slices with delight.) It was too strong for me, but the guacamole was really superior.
I had my old standby, chile rellenos, as a side for $2.25 and an order of the above-cited flan for $3.50. Couldn’t have asked for better, says I.
We talked briefly with Reuben who had just made 100 chile rellenos, he said, and asked him to name the most popular dish on his really beautiful menu. It is mixed fajitas, for $15.99. John hazards a guess that the dish would feed three people by the time it was encased in tortillas. “Mixed” is the word. It contains shrimp and chicken and beef. The soups are also popular, and the specialties of the house range from Arroz con Pollo to Enchalados Poblamas. All these are $8.99. The soups are $3.25. Most of the specialty dishes are pictured and look mouth-watering.
Anyhow, we felt pretty stupid for staying away, a situation which we will rectify. We urge Mexican restaurant fans to gather for a really good meal there. We will.
They’re open for breakfast, both American and Mexican, and the iced tea is Nestea, not brewed. The coffee is good, though. We were very, very happy.
El Asadero restaurant is located at 1717 E. Vista Way in Vista in the same strip mall with the VFW (which we’ve reviewed) and Royal Pho (which we’ve also reviewed). Call (760) 631-7411 for more information.