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Monday, January 20, 2014

El Sol, A Spot of Mexican Sun in Pine Bluff.

On our jaunts, there are restaurants we return to time and time again. When trips take us into southeast Arkansas, we usually make certain we have time to drop in at El Sol on our way back. See why Grav, Hunter and I adore this Pine Bluff restaurant.

My first visit to the brightly colored restaurant was back in 2005, on a trip out to
Watson Chapel. We were looking for good eats and a comfortable place to sit down, and El Sol
offered both. That deep red salsa and gorgeous yellow housemade chips hooked us into returning again, and the reasonable prices ensured we’d frequent the place.

Part of the reason is the very pale yellow cheese dip. It’s smooth and very mild, but with a splash of salsa it comes alive. Grav actually asks for the “hot stuff” and the wait staff obliges, offering a very piquant yet flavorful pepper salsa that’s also excellent in the cheese dip but which will make you sweat.

Lunches at El Sol are super reasonable. You can easily dine with an entrée and drink for less than $10. The El Sol Lunch Special is a cheese-filled battered and deep fried Poblano pepper (larger than a traditional chile relleno) served with guacamole salad, rice and beans. It’s plenty!

One favorite of ours is the El Sol burrito. Don’t let appearances fool you – underneath the drizzle of cheese dip, inside this white burrito, you’ll find grilled chicken and steak, rice and beans, pico de gallo and salsa verde. It’s ten inches long and packed, enough for two.

El Sol’s chimichangas are wrapped like a package rather than long tubes as served elsewhere. You can choose between beef and bean, seasoned chicken or shrimp with peppers and onions as your filling.

There are also steak dishes, such as the El Sol Steak, which is cooked with mushrooms and covered in cheese; the Steak Tampiqueno, cooked in ranchero sauce; and the Steak Mexicano, which is sautéed with peppers, tomatoes and onions and served with tortillas.

El Sol also serves up a number of vegetarian dishes, including a mushroom quesadilla, cheese enchiladas and bean chalupas. And its kids meals come in several varieties, including a quesadilla, burrito, enchilada, taco, mini tacos or even a cheeseburger (just in case your fussy little one doesn’t care for Mexican fare).

El Sol combines a lot of Mexican food ideas with Tex-Mex favorites and Ark-Mex standards such as cheese dip. The punch is pretty good, and the restaurant does a decent frozen margarita. Dessert options include fried ice cream, sopapillas, flan, tres leche cake and a fried banana burrito. If you’d like to see what the daily special is, check out the El Sol Facebook page.

El Sol Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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