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Paso del Norte Mexican Restaurant

3472 Doniphan Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 581-3416

Paso del Norte Mexican Restaurant

Paso del Norte Mexican Restaurant is located on a rather forlorn section of Doniphan Drive in El Paso's Upper Valley between the street's southernmost extremity and Sunland Park Drive, its first major intersecting street. This section of Doniphan is probably best known for an El Paso landmark, Rosa's Cantina, located a couple of doors away. I have been unable to determine whether Rosa's was the inspiration for Marty Robbins' famous song about El Paso or whether the famous bar and lunchtime restaurant is capitalizing on the lyrics from the song to attract a loyal following. Either way it probably helps Paso del Norte Restaurant attract business, especially since it serves three meals a day as opposed the one served by Rosa's.

Paso del Norte Mexican Restaurant really does not depend on tourists finding it, since it specializes in the type of authentic, home style Mexican food which many locals prefer to the large tourist restaurants with Mariachi music and margaritas (I do not call the large restaurants "tourist traps," because I think many of them do have excellent Mexican food). The small restaurants do not necessarily serve better food than the large places, but they almost always offer dishes that are more typical of south of the border restaurants or food to which recent immigrants from Mexico would be accustomed.

Machitos come with tortillas and and salsa so you can make your own tacos

In talking to the ladies who were cooking when I made my initial visit, it because clear that a dish called Machitos was the specialty of the house. The way I understand this dish is that it is made of deep fried goat's intestine. Served with tortillas and salsa, you make your own tacos. This type of food is not really my thing, and the best I can say is that I thought it was better than I expected it to be. The salsa that came with it was excellent, and I can understand why this dish would be very popular. Like the types of meat that are served at Carnitas Queretaro, this dish and others that are served at Paso del Norte are the more traditional Mexican meat dishes that are rarely offered in the restaurants frequented by tourists. I cannot say I am an expert on such things, but I believe if you like this type of food you will like the version served at Paso del Norte.

For a more familiar dish, I tried a Chile Relleno Burrito, a chile relleno complete with cheese inside that was wrapped in a large tortilla with refried beans. While I thought the machitos were interesting, this chile relleno burrito was a pure delight with excellent cheese, a relleno that was not as greasy as I expected, and even refried beans that I thought were better than average. I do think the restaurant overall is better than average, I just will not know how much until I try some more dishes.

One notable feature of Paso del Norte is the salsa. The machitos had a dark red salsa that was so good I do not see how anyone could not enjoy the dish at least a little bit after the salsa is added. The burrito had a different salsa that was equally good, but was a milder tomatillo salsa that went well with the chile relleno. If a restaurant has salsas this good you know a lot of other things will be good as well.

Another very good feature was the Lemonade that had a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors. This, along with the salsa, seem to be integral parts of a home style Mexican meal, and seem to be the things most lacking in some of the larger restaurants that otherwise serve good food. I think both types of restaurants are essential for a full El Paso Mexican food experience, and for more down home cuisine Paso del Norte Mexican Restaurant is one of the better places to go.



Cuisine: Mexican Chihuahua
Cost: $$
Smoking: No Smoking
Special Features: Serves Breakfast

Chile Index:

Most Recent Visit
Jun. 14, 2007

Number of Visits: 1

Best Items
Chile Relleno Burrito, Salsa, Lemonade

Special Ratings
Chile Relleno Burrito: