Sunday, September 6, 2009

Red Iguana - Mexican Food

Judy and I had a layover in Salt Lake City on Thursday, on our way to Billings, Montana for a wedding. We had a recommendation from a friend for the Red Iguana and had also heard it was recently featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, so after we missed a flight and had a few hours, we rented a car and headed there for lunch. It is located at 736 West North Temple, on the north side of the street before going up and over the bridge into downtown SLC and Temple Square.

We got there at 12:10 and there was a group of about 15 or so waiting to get in. We put our name on the list and it took at least 20 minutes to be seated. It is obviously very popular. We talked to some people visiting from Minnesota who were also there on a recommendation from a friend.

Just for the record, I like to try different and unusual foods and dishes. I'm willing to try most things at least once. However, for restaurants I go back to on a regular basis, there is generally something on the menu I really like and when I go back I typically stick to that item or one of a few items. If I find a restaurant that has unusual dishes or things I really find interesting, I'll go back and try most of the things on the menu, then settle on the dishes I particularly like.

I would rate the Red Iguana in the latter category. The menu is very large, many of the listed dishes are intriguing, and although I didn't absolutely love the dishes we ordered, other than the refried beans, I would and will go back many times to try different dishes. I suspect I would find a number of dishes I absolutely love.

Mexican food restaurants I really love typically have quite distinctive salsa and the Red Iguana fits the bill in that category. The salsa is quite thick, more so than at most restaurants, and has quite a kick. It is not as salty or sweet as some, perhaps a tad bit more bitter than most, but very good. It is definitely very different.

The bowl of guacamole was average, although I did like the pieces of tomato, olive and onion that were in it.

Judy got the enchiladas suizas, which was avocado slices, and sour cream chicken topped with mole poblano and melted jack cheese. The taste was kind of shocking because it didn't taste anything like what it looked like. I have had mole before that had kind of a bitter chocolate taste. This was very sweet, almost a dessert type enchilada. Judy, a chocolate lover, really liked it. It was very unusual and I'm glad I tried it, but it is not a dish I would order again, except perhaps to share a few bites with some others as a dessert. Several bites were plenty for me.

The refried beans were fabulous. They tasted like homemade and I suspect are made with mountains of lard. I would go there just to eat the beans. They had some kind of white cheese melted on top.

I ordered the puntas de filete a la nortena, which was top sirloin tips sauteed with bacon, jalapeno strips, onions and fresh tomatoes, served on an almond mole. It was recommended both by our waiter and by the host. The ingredients were good and meshed together well. The almond mole which looked like cheese, but did not taste like cheese, was good, but quite mild. I really enjoyed it, but did not love it. When I go back, I will try other menu items. I would eat this again and enjoy it, but I wouldn't dream about it, and believe me, I've had dishes before that I've dreamed about!

This is my dish again, with the ingredients mixed in more with the almond mole.

So, the Red Iguana is now on our Salt Lake radar. We will be going back.


  1. So glad you liked it! Not so glad you were there because of airline nightmares, however. People love the mole at Red Iguana -- I have friends who fly there just for the mole -- but I'm not a big mole fan and Russ thought the mole he had there was a little weird. But we've had other things there we just love! And I'm with you on the beans, Bob -- I could eat them every day until I die.

  2. Bob, thanks for the review, I've just decided this is where we're headed after the Top of Utah marathon. I think it's Judy's enchiladas for me.

  3. Okay, Susan. Now we need a list of your favorite selections.

  4. Mmmmmm, I LOVE good beans like that! K, next trip to Utah, the Hutchings have got to go to the Red Iguana!