If you're looking for your typical Tex-Mex restaurant, this is not the place for you. You won't find loaded burritos, cheese on you tacos, or the white cheese dip that I've been addictive to my entire life. Uh oh. No cheese dip? I know what those of you who know me are thinking...This is going to be a bad review. The truth is, Las Tortugas was one of the BEST restaurants I have ever been to. Everything is 100% fresh by purchasing everything from their meat to their vegetables the day of from local sources. And it shows! The tortillas, salsas, gaucamole, chips, EVERYTHING is expertly handmade. I believe them when they say, "Fresh is the number one ingredient."
This is not like Chipotle, or Swankys where you get to pick your own toppings. The place is run by Pepe and his son Jonathan (aka Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome. Seriously. You could see young girls swooning.). Pepe is from New Mexico and his mission is to bring fresh, authentic food to Memphis the way it is presented in Mexico. I've heard that if you ask for substitutions, you be better prepared for a lecture!
Chicharron De Queso (Pepe's Specialty Fried Cheese)Chicharron De Queso. This is basically a fried, hollow cone of delicious cheese and spices. It's made by scattering a blend of shredded cheese and spices on a grill, and twirling it with a spatula and tongs. This is not something for me to try at home, even though the recipes I've found said it's supposed to be fairly easy. No thank you! I think I'll stick with the experts at Las Tortugas.
Tamales De Pollo O De Puerco (Chicken Tamales)Now this dish was Bethany's, so I can't attest to its deliciousness. However, I've heard that this one runs out fast! Which brings me to my next point about Las Tortugas: Because their ingredients are purchased the day that they're used, when they're out, they're out! And even though this place seems hidden, it's very popular and gets VERY busy. So get their early and order fast!
Salsa Mexicana & Guacamole VerdaderoEven though you can't get cheese dip (by now you should be starting to see my obsession), you can enjoy homemade salsa and guacamole. I have never been a fan of guacamole. I've always found that it never has had enough flavor for my liking. Now I understand its because I've never had the REAL deal. This dip was nothing short of amazing. It was chunky, spicy, and packed with flavor. The salsa was just as fantastic. It had more of a pico de gallo consistency versus the runny stuff you get at a chain restaurant. And it definitely had an unexpected kick which is essential for good salsa!
Tacos de Carne Asada
When you go into Las Tortugas, you have two choices: order from the menu or order from the daily specials board. I decided to go with the Carne Asada special. Jonathan explained to me that they don't make these tacos with skirt steak like the Tex-Mex version I was accustomed to. Instead they're made from shredded sirloin that is acquired locally for Neola Farms in Tipton County. The tacos are filled with fresh meat, pico de gallo (or maybe the Salsa Mexicana), and slices of avocado. It includes chips, extra salsa, spicy BBQ chili sauce, and my favorite, the Salsa de Aguacate Tayde. It's an avocado based spicy green salsa with the perfect amount of cilantro. (Becca you would hate it! ;) The dish was great without it, but it was phenomenal with it! Also included is a small cucumber and lettuce salad. All together is was simply divine!
Location: 1215 S Germantown Rd, Germantown, TN 38138
Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30 am - 8 pm
Price: $$ (See the left side of my blog for pricing guide)
Suitable for Kids: Yes