Los Gallos specializes in meat tacos and cuts of meat with all the trimmings. Its proximity to Puerto Vallarta’s Costco, the mega-giant warehouse club that is spreading across Mexico, has added a new reason to go grocery shopping.
The meat selections are numerous — arrachera (flank steak), lomo (pork short loin), costilla (chuck short ribs), and more. It’s a good thing they gave us tortilla chips, all kind of salsas, pickled vegetables and little bowls of frijolitos rancheros as soon as we sat down, because we were hungry and it took a while to check out the extensive menu and make our selection.
My table mates decided on a kilo (2.2 pounds) of arrachera — tenderized flank steak — served with a steaming stack of corn tortillas. I added pickled onions and guacamole (thin avocado salsa to you gringos) to my tacos. Also a great tomato and chile salsa. One salsa roja was muy picante, one was mild.
While our waiter, Alexandro, was of the opinion that no tenderizer was on the meat, I have to differ. I have sliced enough flank steak during my restaurant years to know that it has a definite grain and chew. This was perhaps the most tender meat, let alone the most tender flank steak, any of us had eaten. Whatever they used to tenderize it, it was extremely tender and very good.
Another menu option is Al Pastor. This is thinly sliced, marinated pork stacked on a skewer with pinepple on top and onion on the bottom. As it slowly rotates in front of the heating element, pineapple juice drips down over the meat, bathing it with an enzyme in its juice, the natural meat tenderizer bromelain.
Al Pastor has an interesting history in Mexico. Supposedly, the cooking style was brought to this country by immigrants from Lebanon who, in their home country, cooked lamb on spits for making shawarma, bread-wrapped meat similar to Greek gyros. Pastor: lamb: shepherd. The name stayed true to its origins while the meat changed to pork.
The price was right: 210 pesos for one kilo of arrachera. Salsas, pickled vegetables (a little too vinegary for our tastes), beans, tortilla chips and tortillas were all part of the order. That came out to a little under $5 U.S. per person, plus beverage and tip.
Los Gallos is located on Avenida Fluvial, #234. Hours are 10 a.m. to midnight, Tuesday through Sunday. Phone: 225-0267 and 225-0268. Call for delivery in the Puerto Vallarta area.
UPDATE: Los Gallos has closed and is now a new restaurant, called Dos Adelitos. I have not eaten there, but it appears to be a similar type of meat-heavy restaurant with a Jalisco theme. (Jan. 16, 2011)
Los Gallos has possibly the cleanest restrooms we have ever seen anywhere, always a good sign in a restaurant.
We missed our chance and walked right past the complimentary keg of tequila inside the entrance. Don’t be as foolish as we were.
Arrachera: What and When? (Rachel Laudan, A Historian’s Take on Food and Food Politics)