Don Cuervo vs. Don Cuervo Taco and Brews

Rachel McDonald, Feature Editor

It can be difficult to find a good local Mexican restaurant because many Mexican restaurants are very similar. Yet, Don Cuervo and Don Cuervo’s Tacos and Brews surprised me with their amazing food and dining experience.

Don Cuervo and Don Cuervo Tacos and Brews are similar restaurants, as Tacos and Brews is an extension of Don Cuervo only with a smaller menu. I tried both restaurants and was impressed with each one.

Don Cuervo is a small Mexican restaurant off Smith Valley Road that resides in a little strip mall. Inside guests will find many tables spaced further apart in lower lighting with light Mexican music playing in the background, adding to a more calm experience. Most Mexican restaurants are so loud and busy, and even ordering feels rushed. At Don Cuervo, it is quite the opposite because it is rather quiet and the waiters and waitresses are so patient.

The service at Don Cuervo was so fast that I received my food in just a few minutes. I ordered the vegetarian quesadilla, not because I am vegetarian but because I was intrigued by its contents. The vegetarian quesadilla consisted of spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions and was served with refried beans. Although that may sound like a skeptical combination of ingredients, given a quesadilla’s traditional contents, it was amazing. My friends tried the fajitas and arroz con pollo, and they were equally satisfied with their food. Everything was cooked to the perfect consistency and despite the rather inexpensive price, the food was exceptional.

Don Cuervo was my favorite of the two restaurants because their menu was larger and the experience was less pressuring, yet I also liked Don Cuervo Tacos and Brews.

Taco and Brews was significantly busier and more rushed than Don Cuevo, mainly because their menu is smaller and the restaurant is more focused on the alcohol side of things, given the “Brews” part to the name. I was a little disappointed by the limited choices since I had expected Taco and Brews to be similar to Don Cuervo. Taco and Brews was louder, and the tables were closer together, taking away from the quieter ambiance of Don Cuervo.

At Taco and Brews, I ordered the Don Cuervo quesadilla, mainly because I wanted to compare it to the vegetarian quesadilla I enjoyed at Don Cuervo. The Don Cuervo quesadilla contains pico de gallo, and grilled chicken or steak and is served with either rice or beans. I ordered it with steak and beans, and I liked it. However, the vegetarian quesadilla was my favorite of the two.

One thing I was highly unaware of and will warn anyone else of who plans to try Taco and Brews was that the chips and salsa were not free. They did not tell us that when we asked for more, so we kept eating them, completely not knowing that we were paying more every time we got more. Almost every Mexican restaurant I have ever been to provides free chips and salsa with the meal, yet for whatever reason, at Tacos and Brews they are not complimentary. I do not understand why Don Cuervo had free chips and salsa but Don Cuervo Tacos and Brews did not.

Overall, Don Cuervo was my favorite of the two restaurants, yet both had very good food. I was happier with my experience at Don Cuervo since it was laid back and the quality of the food was amazing. I would recommend both Don Cuervo and Don Cuervo Taco and Brews; just be sure to keep in mind that at Taco and Brews the chips and salsa are not free.