Gas stations in Nevada and Utah often come with Mexican restaurants attached. Enter through the convenience store and grab a convenient meal in scarcely more time than it takes for your traveling companion to fuel up the tank. El Coyote Charro is a trio of fast-casual Mexican restaurants that bridge Utah and Nevada. The location in Mesquite, Nevada, is attached to an AM/PM mini-mart.
Carne asada fries are a best dish. The fries themselves are pale, skinny, fast-food variety. Grilled steak on top comes in salty, tender chunks. The cheese isn’t a gooey blanket, but rather, shavings of jack cheese. Most unusual, the dish is doused in ranch dressing before the typical finishing touches of sour cream and guacamole. The fries are crisp enough to stand up to the zesty dressing. Ultimately, it eats more like ballgame food than what you’d normally get in a taqueria — not a bad thing, and definitely true to its gas-station setting.
Fries also are available with marinated “al pastor” pork shaved right from the spit. We tried it on a taco, but concluded that carne asada is the juicier choice. More serious Mexican meats such as cabeza de ress (beef head) aren’t as fresh as the simpler more Americanized selections, such as grilled chicken, which is good in a quesadilla. Chipotle salsa, our favorite from the salsa bar, goes really well with this cheesy bundle. Near the salsa bar is a crock of charro beans to which customers help themselves while waiting for their food.
Burritos are a good hand-held option for the road. They include smooth refried beans that hold meat and rice together nicely.