Burrito Zone and Tamales may be a bit out of the way, just off Auto Mall Parkway on Suzanne Drive, but you would never know it from the jammed parking lot at lunchtime. Oh, you say, just another Mexican place, right? Sorry, amigo, Burrito Zone nails it.
So what’s the difference in this place and the multitude of Tex-Mex places that have opened in the last 10 years or so? Simplicity, I’d have to say, that and quality ingredients. The menu, conspicuously posted on the wall, offers less than two dozen options. The basic categories are burritos, tamales and tacos, with the option of chicken steak, pork, baracoa (shredded beef), shrimp and ground beef.
I heard this place had great tamales, and there are precious few good tamales on the Coast, so on those grounds alone I made the drive. Three tamales for $6.75 is a deal, and after trying them I had to admit I would gladly pay more. The pork tamales had a generous filling, packed with flavor, and when I added a few drops of hot sauce, these were some of the best I have ever had. If you visit for no other reason, visit for the tamales.
My friend, Buddy Jumonville, and I also tried a chicken burrito and three pork tacos (both $7.50). The counter is set up like a buffet, and you get to point at all the ingredients you’d like to add, and I like to load it up. Sautéed onions, tomatoes, pico de gallo, guacamole and lots of hot sauce were a good start.
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The burrito was huge, and would be just right to share with a friend, especially if you got an order of the nachos ($7.50-$8.50), with lots of cheese and jalapenos, or a quesadilla (3 options, $7.50 to $8.50), to go along with it. Quality ingredients and judicious seasoning make this burrito one of the best around, and the same could be said for the tacos. The tacos were also overstuffed, and as hungry as I was, I could only get through two of the three.
A huge menu has never impressed me very much. Certainly the chef has just a few favorites that are going to be the best choices. But when you see a menu that is as succinct as this, you can be assured that everything on it is a worthy option. There is no doubt that Burrito Zone is a backroad joint, it’s not huge, by any standards, and the menu doesn’t offer half the options of many Mexican places that now abound on the Coast do, but it earns my top pick for excellence in all categories.
If you go
Burrito Zone and Tamales
Where: 4061 Suzanne Drive, Suite E, D’Iberville
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday