Beto's Grill: Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo

Eye Candy: 5/5 Stars
Smelloscope: 4/5 Stars
Taste Test: 4/5 Stars
Wallet Breaking: $$$
Recommend-ability: 4/5 - Mouth Watering Goodness

It wasn't only two or three years ago when I first stepped foot into Beto's grill. An out-of-state friend came and visited me and was in the mood for Mexican food. I personally rarely suggest Mexican food myself. I remember a time when I was younger when I occasionally craved a taco. But since that craving was rarely fulfilled because my mother disliked Mexican food, it never grew on me.
Beto's Grill Menu

I literally live three blocks from Beto's Grill for nearly fifteen years. I've seen this festive looking mom and pop joint every time I drove down Las Tunas Blvd. The first time I had a fried Tilapia and I immediately fell in love with the place. Though I still don't go as often as I should, every so often I would suggest to meet up there, and today I had a lunch meeting there with George, a member of the board of director of my High School Alumni Association, in which I'm the president of.

George does frequent Beto's, so I asked for his recommendation. He said his wife loves the shrimps, so I got the Camarones Al mojo De Ajo. I don't even know where to begin in understand what that is. The direct translation fortunately was provided in parenthesis under the Spanish name, Shrimps in garlic butter sauce. I initially was debating whether to get this one or the chipotles. I asked the lovely waitress how spicy was the chipotle sauce. She said though she enjoys a bit of spiciness in her dish, she finds is a little spicy. So opted out of that and went with the garlic butter version.

Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo - $13.95
 Am I glad I did. This dish was beautiful to look at. The shrimps were split in half with the tail still intact. The dish was garnished with some colorful squash, carrots and red onions, giving it a vibrant color. The tomato rice added even more color. Finally the 2 slices of lime contrasted the rest of the plate with a little green. This was a perfect summer dish, festive and light.

Holding my nose close to the dish, I could smell the shrimp covered with butter. I would have given this dish a perfect 5/5 for both smell and taste if it was just a bit hotter. It felt as if the plate sat on the counter just a bit too long and it got slightly chilled. Since it wasn't hot enough, the smell wasn't as strong as I wanted. It also took the taste slightly down. I like my grilled food fresh off the grill, not five minutes after it's been grilled.

Nevertheless, the butter, garlic and salt combination was perfect. It was never too buttery, nor too salty. There were actual chunks of garlics over the shrimp, but yet their flavors never over powered the dish like those I would find at The Stinking Rose. When the shrimp entered my mouth, I got a bit of the salt off the shell and the taste of the butter gradually blossomed inside. The lime juice gave the shrimp a little bit of the freshness necessary to counter the heaviness of the butter. The crunchy vegetables contrasted with the soft shrimp meat. The shrimp themselves were also fresh and grilled to a slight brownish color, just enough to give a little hint of the flavor of the grill without blackening my mouth. Everything about this dish just worked together for me. The best part was the generous portion of shrimps. I didn't feel like I needed more by the end of the dish. It had just enough to satisfy my taste buds and not too much to sicken me.

There are some nice hidden Mexican food gems in the San Gabriel Valley despite being dominated by the Asian cuisine. And the clientele of Beto had a few Asian families as well as various ethnicities. Asians do actually eat non-Asian foods, contrary to what some of my friends would believe. And now no one can say that I only eat Asian food.

Beto's Grill
510 E Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 287-0399

Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo - $13.95


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