Update September 2016: Valle of Mexico in South Buffalo is CLOSED
1586 South Park Avenue / South Buffalo | (716) 822-8880
Hours: Monday–Saturday:11am–11pm; Sunday: 11am–10pm
WEBSITE | SOB LISTING
Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s no coincidence that we are posting a Mexican Restaurant review today of all days, but it is sheer LUCK that Valle of Mexico has some of the most authentic Mexican around! Plus, they happen to be a brand new addition to South Buffalo. Talk about two or three birds with one stone!
As you may have seen in The News last week, Valle has quite the selection of un-Americanized dishes and preparation styles that this area has been lacking. I’m not sure how it’s possible that we have yet to see a strong enough market for a truly authentic Mexican menu around here. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Americanized versions, but I definitely plan to frequent this place for the genuine cuisine – especially the inexpensive, simple tacos.
We visited on a weekday afternoon, joining one other couple in the one room dining area where decor seems to be a work in progress. The kind owner, Hector, greeted us with menus, and offered a nice table under colorful ceiling decor. Complementary chips were fresh, tasty. I thoroughly enjoyed the chili based salsa, which looked and tasted nothing like the tomato based version we’re used to in WNY. It’s heat ensures it goes a long way, but it’s entirely edible at the same time.
The menu runs the gamut of meat preparations for tacos, tostadas, tortas etc. Whether you’re in the mood for beef or pork, chicken or lamb, you’re covered! The menu is clear and concise with Spanish names followed by English, each very descriptive. Hungry and curious, we ordered three tacos ($2.50 each). Originally we inquired about the Lengua (Tongue Beef) and Suadero (Brisket), but Hector explained that they were still being cooked and therefore unavailable at the time. We were prepared for this and besides, had no problem trying anything else on the long list. Hector offered lamb and we accepted. There is no lamb option on the menu, possibly a special? We also chose Al Pastor (roast pork) and Chorizo (Mexican sausage). All three were excellent. The chorizo was especially flavorful and satisfying, and I would definitely order Al Pastor again in a heartbeat. The meat was mixed with pineapple chunks. Delicioso!
Moving down the menu we ordered two tostadas ($2.50 each)- Carnitas (Fried Pork) and Carne Asada (Grilled Beef). The beef was good, the Carnitas outstanding. Both the tacos and tostadas were served on two corn tortillas – the way tacos are meant to be served! It’s my understanding that the deep fried tortilla of the tostada is the difference between that and a taco. If ours were deep fried, it’s news to me. But everything was so good, it hardly mattered. Each of the five were topped with a beautiful crema, serrano chili pepper sauce with a perfect combination of flavor and heat and a simple pico de gallo consisting of tomatoes, onion and cilantro. The lack of cheese on these babies thrilled me. That’s all I have to say about that. These tacos are the best I’ve had in WNY. (I’m a sucker for corn tortillas.)
At first we had big plans to order a torta, a traditional Mexican sandwich and some pozole, traditional Pre-Columbian stew made with maize, meats, chiles and seasonings. Fortunately, or unfortunately, after we ordered the tacos, tostadas and added a Mole Poblano Enchilada, Hector told us we had plenty lined up for two. So those will have to wait until next time.
This was my first time trying a Mole Poblano Enchilada ($11.99). I knew little what to expect but was pleasantly surprised with the rich chocolaty taste, and combination of cheese and mole. The sauce dominated the chicken inside the tortilla wrappings. Craft a bite with enchilada, rice, beans and pico and you have yourself a fork-full you can’t stop eating.
The menu continues, offering about 35 Platos Fuertes or Main Entrees with an average price of $12. You’ll find a few fajita and burrito options along with tons more sopas/soups and about 25 antojitos/appetizers including nachos, chilaquilas, huaraches and picaditas. Plus, you wont be able to miss the Huevos/Eggs section.
I have no idea whether or not Valle offers margaritas. While I love a good one, I was far to consumed with the authentic Mexican cuisine going on in front of me to care. Plus, the long bar on the left side of the room doesn’t exactly seem equipped for such endeavors yet, which is perhaps why it never crossed my mind. They do offer Sodas Mexicana ($3), jugos/juices ($4) and Licuados de fruta/smoothies in 8 different flavors.
In a very recent Yelp review of Valle Of Mexico, Alex L. discussed the service and working out the kinks as a new restaurant. He wrote, “don’t come here in a hurry or with bad company,” and went on to say how if it never changes, he’d still make it a point to visit. He’s absolutely right. Be a good sport when you visit – it’s worth it. The owner/chef is very pleasant. Our visit ran smoothly – we found ourselves in and out in a reasonable amount of time and didn’t feel frustrated with our wait. When you visit Valle, focus on the food and you won’t be disappointed.