IBJOpinion

DINING: A chorizo line forms for Westfield Mexican eatery

Queso Blanco offers South of the border fare north of I-465

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Dining - A&E

Our month-long quest for red, white and blue eateries took us, ironically enough, to a Mexican place in Westfield. Located in an old building in the heart of downtown, Queso Blanco (102 S. Union St., 867-5200) was doing a brisk Tuesday night business despite the lack of off-street parking—and without the draw of south-of-the-border staples like margaritas and Dos Equis.

That didn’t dissuade the families who showed up after Little League and soccer. There was nothing fancy about the neighborhood restaurant—think reception hall seating and classic Mex menu—but Queso Blanco was packing them in despite nearby competition from two of the nearly ubiquitous strip-mall chains.

We wanted to find out why.

So we ordered the Queso Fundido appetizer ($4.99), one of our standard measuring tools for Mexican joints. For the uninitiated, it’s basically melted white cheese (the namesake Queso Blanco in this case) mixed with chorizo sausage. Often, grilled tomatoes, onions and peppers are added to give it some redeeming value. And more times than not, it’s served with warm tortillas instead of chips.

Queso Blanco kept it simple. No veggies. No tortillas. Just cheese and plenty of sausage. It was greasy and delicious, but we missed the break from crunchy chips that tortillas offer.

(For the record, the chips and salsa were solid, if fairly tame. We asked for a spicier sauce, which delivered the expected punch, but it was so runny we were tempted to use our straws to get it from bowl to mouth.)

When it came to our entrees, we tried to avoid the standard burrito-enchilada-fajita in favor of choices that looked a little different.
 

Dining A mild red sauce pulls together the pork tamale meal at Queso Blanco. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

So I ordered the Taco de Azada Con Chorizo ($10.79)—a variation on my favorite steak taco dish—and my husband opted for the Two Tamale Meal ($9.29). Served with creamy refried beans and uncharacteristically tasty Mexican rice, the pork tamales were a big hit. The handmade tamales struck just the right balance between corn masa dough and flavorful pork, and the mild red sauce on top tied everything together well. Let’s just say I was on my own when it came to finishing the appetizer.

My meal was good but not great. Four flour tortillas (a little too uniform to be homemade) were filled with a generous portion of grilled steak and spicy chorizo, with pico de gallo and beans on the side. But I missed the tomatillo sauce that usually accompanies steak tacos, and I may have suffered from a bit of chorizo overload. The sausage added a deeper flavor to the dish, but it was so rich I could eat only half of it. Plus, the grease from the chorizo soaked my tortillas, preventing me from telling myself that I made a fairly healthy choice. Reality bites, indeed.•

—Andrea Muirragui Davis

__________

Third in a month-long series of reviews of red, white and blue eateries.

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  • Why compare?
    The article starts off by talking about a Mexican restaurant in an unexpected location... and then proceeds to compare it to "the usual."

    If you want the usual, go to the usual places and get the usual meal... and all you will ever have is the same thing everywhere you go. If you want to review a new place, grade it based on the actual food that is served.

    Why not just review the food AT this restaurant, rather than saying, "It didn't have [insert item] that is usually served?"
  • This is not franchise food!
    I have traveled and lived in a variety of places.. many that host "real" mexican restaurants.. Queso Blanco can stand up with any of them. The food is real, has flavor not just heat and is authentic, not franchise repeats. You discovered the real secret though.. Their Tamales. there is only one other place in Indy that can do tamales like Terrell's staff,(and that is a walk-in that just makes tamales) Kudo's to Queso Blanco!!
  • Excellent Eats
    I have been to every Mexican restaurant in Carmel, Westfield, Fishers, etc...without fail, I always end up back at Queso Blanco. If you blindfolded me and put me in a Mexican restaurant, I wouldn't be able to tell you which one I was at by tasting the food - they all run together and seem to be cooking out of the same kitchen...except for this one. Queso Blanco is different - you will taste wonderful subtleties that you don't notice at the rest of them.
  • Great Neighbor
    I love Queso Blanco. Their food is excellent and service superb. In addition, they give back to the community. The owner hosted a fundraiser for our local soccer recreation club. The club sent out a flyer to its group. For any family that came in during the designated date/time, Queso Blanco donated 10% of their tab back to the club. It was a great evening of community, good food and great people. I highly recommend you go and you will not be disappointed!
  • Great local business
    Queso Blanco offers more than great food. It is a shining example of a great local business. Queso Blanco gets five stars when it comes to community involvement and support. We hold many meetings there and are thrilled to have the staff serve us our â??regular ordersâ??â?¦never needing to ask us what we want but, out of courtesy, they always do.

    Love the food; love the setting, just plain love Queso Blanco. Five stars from the Westfield Chamber of Commerce!
  • Plenty of Parking
    Plenty of off-street parking available in back of building in well-lit public lot.

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