Last night, after running some errands in Bartlett, I was driving down Stage Road, trying to figure out whether or not to drive back back to Midtown for dinner or not. And then, as though by divine providence, I saw this sign:
I thought it might be the Bartlett version of the El Mercadito in Hickory Hill, which is an amazing Hispanic market, cultural center and restaurant, but it doesn't appear that that's the case, as the El Mercadito on Stage Rd. is only a restaurant.
We were shown to a giant booth that could have easily sat six people and given menus. The menus weren't extensive, but all of the Mexican restaurant staples were accounted for (including a few, like tamales and empanadas, that aren't on every other menu in town) and there were a few speciality entrees.
I ordered the chicken tamales and a bowl of cheese dip and a frozen peach maragarita. El Mercadito's margaritas come in a variety of flavors, including blue (not blue raspberry, mind you, just…blue). Don't underestimate the margaritas. Mine tasted like a slushie, but it definitely packed a little punch.
If you're the sort of person who could fill up only on chips and salsa, El Mercadito's got some of the best. Their salsa is good and obviously fresh, and to be honest, it's the closest thing I've found to the incredible salsa from Fuego Maya's. Their chips are warm, super thin slices of heaven. There wasn't a single stale chip in either basket that we got. I would go back back to El Mercadito just to drink margaritas and eat chips.
The chicken tamales were pretty good, but the ratio of filling to corn seemed to be a little off. The soft corn shells seemed to be very dense. They came topped with medium spicy salsa verde, which made them taste sort of like the Enchiladas Suizas from Las Delicias.
The tab for two people, including one margarita and a cheese dip, came to $29, which isn't a terrible deal.
I'm not sure if I would rank El Mercadito as 110 percent Mexican, but I can tell you this: if you find yourself in Bartlett craving Mexican food, it won't dissapoint. It probably won't blow your mind, but it definitely won't let you down, especially if you love chips and salsa.
El Mercadito is family friendly. The accept everything but American Express, and they're open daily for lunch and dinner.
6220 Stage Rd
Bartlett, TN 38134