Taste Magnet

Tempe has the goods, and here's where to find them

The Colorado pork stew was a peppery blast of New Mexico chiles in my mouth, accompanied by a crispy hunk of fry bread, while the gaucho steak in an Argentine chimichurri marinade of olive oil, soy sauce and herbs was soft, mild and comforting. Entrees were often accompanied by "New Mexican mashed potatoes," a bright orange side made with New Mexico chiles, garlic and cheese, all of which tingles in your kisser as you eat it.

For desserts, you can choose either a chocolate brownie with cinnamon ice cream, or a walnut custard topped with tiny toasted marshmallows. Both are fine, but I wish Manriquez would offer a Mucho Gusto-style flan, as it's rare that I come across one I really enjoy.

If I've neglected the atmosphere this time around, it's only because of my excitement over the grub. Manriquez and Withycombe have converted what was a functional fast-food operation into a pleasant, genteel bistro with a cantina-style bar, and Mexican masks and Botero reproductions on the walls. It's a far cry from the corporate toxicity of Mill. And for this alone, the proprietors probably deserve the bleedin' key to the city.

Gregarious gourmets: Chef Carlos Manriquez (left) holding his clams adobo, and his partner Chad Withycombe enjoying one of Mucho Gusto's marvelous margaritas.
Jackie Mercandetti
Gregarious gourmets: Chef Carlos Manriquez (left) holding his clams adobo, and his partner Chad Withycombe enjoying one of Mucho Gusto's marvelous margaritas.

Location Info

Map

Mucho Gusto Taqueria & Mexican Bistro

603 W. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Tempe

Details

Steamed clams adobo: $10
Barra Vieja shrimp: $15
Oaxacan tamale: $12
Gaucho steak: $15

480-921-1850.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m.

603 West University Drive, Tempe

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