The Red Iguana Restaurant
If I say Red Iguana to anyone in the Salt Lake Valley, chances are they will not be thinking of a reptile adorned in my favorite color. They'll be thinking of a Mexican restaurant...a particularly good Mexican restaurant. My wife and I took a break from the hustle and bustle that is Christmas shopping and stopped by today.
The restaurant is located downtown, but not quite downtown... If you know where the place is, you know what I mean. Literally millions of cars fly by it every year (it's only a block from I-15). The road in front of the restaurant is being ripped up to put a light rail line down the middle of the street. It takes a little work to reach it, and--driving by--if you don't know of its reputation, you'll think it's just another Mexican restaurant. The cars filling the parking lot and the people waiting outside in the cold during the lunch rush may persuade you to think otherwise.
We were lucky; we timed it right. Today we arrived around 11:30 a.m. and since it was just the two of us, were seated quickly. The owner of the restaurant was even there chatting it up with customers. The patrons returned her huge smile as she walked in between the crowded tables. We were seated below a framed chef's smock. Interestingly enough, the smock lacked many of the food stains (and possibly grease fire burns...) one might expect on such a garment.
The Mrs. ordered burritos. Me--a beef chimichanga...oh, so so good. On the wall opposite us hung awards printed on dinner plates, each plate representing a time in which the restaurant won the Best Mexican Restaurant award of the year by some publication. Between 1997 and 2008, I believe I counted eight plates (and, to be fair, there was only one award for the years 1999-2000, so it was even more impressive...).
The food came fast and we ate fast. Soon we returned to the broken road leading back to the freeway and back home. I've only had the opportunity to dine at the Red Iguana a few times. But, if I'm with a group of people and we are wondering where we should eat, if someone suggests, The Red Iguana, a dissenting vote from me you will not get.