Taqueria Los Desvelados: Shady Restaurant of the Month

by | October 13, 2008 | 25 Comments


Taqueria Los Desvelados

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1516 SW 29th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73119

Southwest 29th has long been a shady destination of mine.  It all started just east of Portland with Sydney’s Restaurant, and then continued east to the corner of May with 50′s cafe and El Regio Loco (which has since been spotted all over town).  Venturing further east, I found Max Burger off Western.  There are countless contenders for the shady honor along this stretch of road, dotted between the used car lots promising easy financing and the pawn shops offering to buy your gold fillings.  I owe it to a friend of mine for introducing me to Taqueria Los Desvelados, the latest purveyor of shadiness.  He is actually the same guy who introduced me to Nic’s Grill, so he will be automatically inducted into the shady hall of fame once it is created.

Taqueria Los Desvelados is in a very convenient location.  It is next to a Volkswagen repair shop and across the street from a rug and carpet store.  Further down the road on each side are used car lots, used tire and wheel swaps, and pawn shops.  It’s the perfect location because you were probably already driving by looking for an easy, no-hassle financing option for a used El Camino, which always stirs up a mean appetite.  Tacos Los Desvelados (as they have etched into their long bench tables) is full of flavorful ethnic authenticity, and surrounded by ultimate Oklahoma City shadiness.  What a perfect combination.  For all you real adventurers, try visiting late on a Saturday night while celebrating an OU victory.  You will find them serving delicious food until 3am on the weekends.

The decor is what you would expect in an authentic Mexican restaurant.  Bright orange and purple colors, pictures of Mexico, and cool chairs.  They have these big, picnic-table-style benches that have etched graffiti all over them in the front room, and in the side room a couple tables with cool chairs that look like this.  Also in this room is a ridiculously huge Mexican headdress.  Think this but 10 times bigger.  It is very light, though, as one of the waitresses showing it to us was able to lift it with one hand.  They also have a candy dispenser with a Mexican version of an M&M character, and one of those crane machines that you pay 50 cents to try and fish out a 25 cent prize.  You know, typical shady restaurant stuff.

The menu offers standard taqueria fare — tacos, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas, flautas … etc., stuffed with your favorite meats.  They have asada (steak), lengua (tongue), pastor (a seasoned pork meatloaf of sorts), chicken, barbacoa (beef head), and of course, buche (stomach), tripas (intestines), and chorizo (sausage).  Like any respectable taqueria, the tacos are traditionally served on corn tortillas with onion and cilantro and rolled up individually with a little parchment paper.

The gorditas are much bigger and thicker than those at the other taquerias in town.  I’m not sure if I like that or not.  I kind of like the thin gorditas as they seem easier to eat.  These are thick-cut corn “shells” (for lack of a better term) and according to those familiar with San Antonio street food, just like the gorditas in San Antonio.  They are made to be able to hold their fillings like a little fried sandwich and are absolutely packed with meat, beans, and flavor.

The enchiladas and flautas are topped with shredded lettuce, slices of tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.  The enchiladas have a tasty red chili sauce of some sort, and the flautas have a green tomatillo sauce.  In my opinion, they could both use a little kick so I usually sprinkle on some of the salsa that they bring out in those cool little Mocajete bowls with the little feet.

But unlike your typical taqueria, this is a full service restaurant. There are several dinner plates (with rice and beans on the side) including my new favorite dish — tacos derados. These are fried tacos.  They are stuffed with your choice of a crumbly goat cheese, or mashed potatoes (you read that right).  Not since those brilliant carnies at the state fair introduced fried mashed potatoes on a stick have I been so excited about a dish.  Now, if only they could stuff a taco with macaroni and cheese and deep fry it.  I wonder if they would take suggestions?

I always make a big deal when a restaurant serves one of my favorite meats, and yes, you can get goat here.  They serve a goat soup.  No, I haven’t tried it, mainly because soup isn’t my favorite means of sustenance.  I will try it when it gets colder. I wish they would serve goat tacos.  Finding goat, or even lamb, in this town is not easy.  Heck, I can understand squirrel (by the way, I have honestly thought of opening a fried squirrel restaurant — you think fried onion burgers are all the rage, wait till metro OKC sees the squirrel fries sweeping through the city) but lamb and goat are a main meat group in nearly every heavily populated culture in the world.  For now, you will have to settle for small morsels found in soups, stews and masalas in the ethnic eateries dotted across our metro.

One other thing — there is a pretty steep language barrier here, but that doesn’t stop them from being highly accommodating.  First off, we got an awesome tour of the restaurant and didn’t really even ask.  We got samples and descriptions of several items.  Also, my Bangali friend who was a little disturbed at not being served chips with our meal once brought this up to the waitress.  She asked, “Chips?  Like nacho or like tortilla?”  He said, “like tortilla.”  Next thing you know, she brings us out a basket of freshly cut pieces of corn tortilla that they fried up for us on the spot. Amazing!

Beverages range from the Mexican bottled coke (which tastes WAY better than American coke.  I think it’s sugar cane like the Dublin Dr. Pepper), cans of other beverages and cervezas, and flavored waters.  I find it interesting that these Mexican restaurants call what we call fruit juice “flavored water.”  Anyway, they have cantaloupe, a purple one that no one has been able to translate, and horchata.  If the assortment of beverages isn’t enough to provide relief to your taste buds still smarting from that pickled jalapeno, go next door to their paleteria (popsicle shop).  Our hostess gave us a tour of the place and a lot of samples from the paleteria.  She gave us a cup of what she called “crazy water.”  It was cucumber water and was surprisingly good, and very refreshing.  She also had celery water which I will never try because I hate celery, and a variety of other fruit waters.  These really are flavored waters.  They are not sweet like a juice.  The paletas were available in walnut, rice, mango, chocolate … etc.

Taqueria Los Desvelados is not the shadiest place I have ever reviewed.  Sure, from the outside it stirs up fear and uneasiness with the best of them, but inside you feel pretty comfortable except for a more difficult language barrier than many other Mexican restaurants in town.  As with all shady restaurants, I recommend to our shady novices to stick with daylight hours, but for the more experienced shady adventurists, Taqueria Los Desvelados lets you adventure late into the night.  After all, desvelados translates as “kept awake.”  So if you are “kept awake,” make sure you are not “kept hungry” and go have a late night burrito.  I can’t wait to hear what you think in the comments.

Taqueria Los Desvelados on Urbanspoon

More Photos from Taqueria Los Desvelados

Aguas Frescas at Taqueria Los Desvelados in Oklahoma CityExterior of Taqueria Los Desvelados in Oklahoma CityTacos Dorados at Taqueria Los Desvelados in Oklahoma City

This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Monday, October 13th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • ballerinatoes says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 7:48 pm   

    Oh my gosh…goat, cabrito! Reminds of San Antonio where people were selling goats in the Wal Mart parking lot. lol.

  • Bizzle says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 10:49 pm   

    Oh! Oh! I can’t wait to try this pkace. I love mexican coke! 17.99 for a case of it at Sams, but boy is it good. Will report back….

  • R. D. Hale, M.D. says:
    October 14th, 2008 at 10:03 pm   

    You really need to try Carnitas Michoacan on 2nd St. in Edmond. Literally everything there is delicious, and priced inexpensively. It’s run by one family, and the mom is a GREAT cook. You’ve been to the Thai restaurant, next door, not too long ago (the one-man show). One block west of Broadway, in the strip center.

  • Holley says:
    October 15th, 2008 at 4:17 pm   

    Another good place is Calvillo’s. It is on SW 59th, west of Western. It’s a combination restaurant/grocery store. Ask for the pesadilla-a guacamole, sour cream, bacon and steak filled quesadilla.

  • Diana says:
    October 16th, 2008 at 1:35 pm   

    I’ve alway wanted to try this place. have you ever noticed a lady sitting outside the door? i always see her and always wonder why she sits out there. Anyone know? Cabrito is ok, i’ve had it before in Monterrey mexico at a restaurant thats famous for the cabrito, there have been celebrities that eat there. It was ok. Oh and the purple drink, its called tamarindo or tamarind, its a type of fruit, you can find it in wikipedia. Also, how are the tortas? the name says taqueria y torteria. I’m a fan or the torta with lots of guacamole! I had the cucumber “agua” next door.. NOT my favorite.. i prefer the more traditional, orchata, limon, pina and tamarindo!

  • Ryan says:
    October 19th, 2008 at 5:48 pm   

    I have got try this place! Sounds like quite an adventure. BTW El Parian on Broadway south of 2nd Street in Edmond serves goat.


  • Kevin says:
    October 20th, 2008 at 9:52 am   

    Taqueria Los Desvelados is a great late night place that I like to eat with my friends, I recommend the Huaraches and the tacos tripas arent too bad if you willing to eat it. I am not quite Andrew Zimmer from Bizarre Foods but tripas are good when they are cooked right. At the paleteria, they serve one of the best aquas frescas (fruit water) I have ever had, it is a mix of mango, apple, pina, and something else, I cant remember but it is very tasty.

  • Kevin says:
    October 25th, 2008 at 1:42 pm   

    Folks sounds excellent, but I’m with ya on the notion of celery water … a terrible thing to do to innocent drops of H2O

  • isaac says:
    October 31st, 2008 at 3:33 pm   

    ate there the other day for lunch. was just us two in there. the food was awesome, cheap, and I will definitely be coming back again. you could probably do another 20 reviews of restaurants in this section of town that people are too afraid to venture too.

  • dustbury.com » No pan dulce for you says:
    November 26th, 2008 at 8:02 am   

    [...] In this part of the country, anyway, you’re either going to encounter some form of Tex-Mex in a comparatively-sanitary form or something closer to the Real Enchilada in a shadier configuration. [...]

  • Ben says:
    January 16th, 2009 at 5:18 pm   

    Jamica might be the purple water as well. It’s from the hybiscus flower and is supposedly very good for the kidneys. Assuming they didn’t over-sweeten it for gringo tastes it’s very refreshing.

  • josh says:
    March 19th, 2009 at 1:57 pm   

    I love their Burrito Californiano. Oh, that purple drink that no one has been able to interpret is actualy Jamaica, made from hibiscus. Very refreshing, much better than Horchata.

  • donnie says:
    May 21st, 2009 at 3:45 pm   

    sounds good, i’ll have to try this place, maybe tonight.

  • Tony says:
    October 23rd, 2009 at 8:32 am   

    Going tonight with a friend. Will try the gordita, tripe tacos and maybe enchiladas!

  • Richard says:
    November 13th, 2009 at 8:57 pm   

    I tried it for the first time today, I will be a frequent customer now!! I had Asada, Pollo, and a Lengua taco. I also had a Mexican Coca-Cola in a bottle

  • Maria says:
    April 1st, 2010 at 10:42 am   

    Absoluteley disgusting!! I would never go back I ordered the barbacoa tacos, I have to say by the time I was done picking out all the fat I was left with nothing!! On top of that the place smelled like a public restroom not my idea of good. For great tacos, a clean restaurant, and great service try La Tropicana it is actually located right down the street from them right on 29th. I reccommend the tacos the tripa or a torta, they have great salsas as well.

  • TxOkie says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 2:07 pm   

    Hi,My wife & I have been living here for about 15 yr’s now,were from San Antonio & have yet to find a good breakfast taco place with fresh homemade flour tortillas.We have to try Los Desvelados,but would love to have a breakfast taco place that opens early in the morning.

  • TxOkie says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 2:20 pm   

    Just wanna thank you for having this column on the web,I just happened to stumble unto it.Maybe now I can find a real taco place.Being from San Antonio, where a restaurant has to have real home-made flour tortillas to survive, We have yet to find real breakfast tacos. we live in Edmond & maybe that’s why.A real taco is made with home-made flour tortillas & filled with a variety of meat’s & other stuff. I’m glad that you mentioned some places that sell tripa’s, my loves them.We will be trying some of the places mentioned on this site but have to drive to the southside to find something.Hope they have real home-made flour tortillas & have– bean & cheese tacos,choriso with bean tacos,choriso with eggs or potatoes,picaillo tacos,carne guisada,tripas,baco & egg,etc.

  • TxOkie says:
    April 8th, 2010 at 2:55 pm   

    Ohh–Maria –when you ever order barbacoa again–make sure you tell them that you want all meat or they may give you meat from the cow head that you may not like.Barbacoa comes from the cow head & some places just give you everything in there unless you ask for all meat with is basically from the cow cheeks(which is all tender beef).

  • TxOkie says:
    April 10th, 2010 at 12:39 pm   

    My wife & I went to Carnitas Michoacan last night & the food was really very tasty & inexpensive.I got the gorditas with pollo(chicken) for my wife & the barbacoa tortas for myself.I knew the food was gonna be good just by the smell that was just enticing me while i was waiting for my take-out order.I got all og that for only $7.50. I tasted my wifes gorditas & the chicken actually was very flavorful(not blah) & my tortas had a lot of barbacoa which was great(filled me up).We found a great place to eat at in Edmond.I recommend it.

  • cecilia says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 7:39 pm   

    hey thanks 2 every one 4 the good comment to los desbelados i thank every one of u this restaurant is own by my dads brother and my mom works ther thanks 2 every one of the good comments ill let them know all the ood commnet you all have to los desbelados

  • Jason says:
    September 21st, 2010 at 12:35 pm   

    Ate there for lunch a few weeks ago…good, inexpensive and authentic.

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