Published On: Wed, Apr 10th, 2013

Gnarly Nachos Quest – El Taco Express

Story last updated on April 24th, 2013 at 10:00 pm.

This week, the choice of nachos to review came from El Taco Express, located along Centennial Blvd in Springfield, a few stores down from Value Village. Scott and I have eaten at this restaurant numerous times, and the nachos have been a regular choice on many occasions. In the past, however, we ate them with careless abandon, not paying attention to the details of the food as we were not reviewing them at the time. This restaurant is not one we go to for the decor or ambiance. It is one we have found we get the most “bang for our bucks” when comparing portion size to cost of meal.

El Taco Express Photo: Scott Reynolds - Lane Today

El Taco Express
Photo: Scott Reynolds – Lane Today

This restaurant has not been without its share of trials and tribulations. Approximately a year or so ago, the owners suffered from an act of nature. Scott and I had ventured there to eat dinner, only to discover that the snow which had recently fallen led to the roof caving in. This was quite distressing for us, as we were very fond of El Taco Express and wondered how this would affect the business. We strive to support the local economy, and a good plate of nachos is a sure fire way to show our love. A few months passed, and the restaurant was able to re-open, and appeared to not buckle financially from being closed for repairs. As of today, the business is thriving and is always busy.

Last Saturday, Scott chose to order the food to go, and brought nachos home to the family. The short trip from there to our home did not affect the quality of the food at all. The nachos from El Taco Express are not fancy by any stretch, and in fact are more “threadbare” for ingredients than some might prefer. That being said, they still satisfy the hungry person, and for $5.50, this is acceptable.

Chips: 7.5. The chips taste like they could be made in-house, but it is difficult to say for sure. They are decent and appealing.

Protein: 8. This time, Scott opted for Carne Asada, which had been cut into small strips, and for the price, the quantity is generous. I would say the meat is an 8, because it tends to be somewhat fatty and this occasion it was slightly more fatty than I prefer. The meat also tasted like it was marinated first, which lent a nice flavor overall.

Complimentary ingredients: 6. As previously stated, these nachos are threadbare, and it is in this category they are somewhat lacking for my taste. They have cheese, sour cream, guacamole, beans, and olives, all of which are evenly distributed over the chips in a consistent manner. They do not include pico de gallo, which for me would make them a 10 in flavor and quality. They also do not have onions or any shredded lettuce. If these ingredients were added, these nachos would be ‘the bomb.’

Nachos from El Taco Express Photo: Scott Reynolds - Lane Today

Nachos from El Taco Express
Photo: Scott Reynolds – Lane Today

Service: 10. This is an area that El Taco Express has deservedly earned the coveted 10/10. They are always prompt, friendly, smiling, and strive to please. They take your order and then happily deliver it to your selected table, should you choose to dine in, which we have done in the past. For this review, we took it to go, and Scott got it home fast to all of us, which speaks volumes for how efficiently this restaurant is able to fill an order.

Portion: 9. For the price of $5.50, these nachos have earned a 9 for the size of the portion served.

Overall Score: 8.1. If you are really short on cash, but big on appetite, El Taco Express is the place to go. The food is fast, fresh, and overall decent for the price paid. Check them out the next time you are jonesing for some killer nachos that won’t break the bank. El Taco Express is located at 647 W. Centennial Blvd. in Springfield, and is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.


Lane County Gnarly Nachos Standings (with links to past reviews):

1) Steelhead Brewery 8.9

2) Turtles Bar & Grill / The Loft 8.3

3) El Taco Express 8.1

4) El Taco Grande 7.9

5) Taqueria Mi Tierra 7.5

6) Laughing Planet 7.2

7) Riva’s Taco Shop 6.3

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  1. I’m only waiting on the review for Cafe 440. The nachos there are amazing!

    • Scott Reynolds says:

      It’s on my list. For as many requests as I have been getting for 440, it will definitely be sooner than later! Thanks for the tip, Antony!

  2. Roodle doot doot says:

    Road trip suggestion: Magoo’s bar in Salem. Portion: 10 without question. They serve it in a punchbowl.

    • Scott Reynolds says:

      Thanks for the tip Roodle! Although I’m on the quest for Lane County’s Gnarliest Nachos, I definitely plan to check out nachos on out-of-town locales when I travel! Many more crunchy bites of awesomeness to you! -Scott

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