El Triunfo to Start Another Year (Northfield, MN)

My first restaurant report of 2022 was a brief round-up of a few meals eaten at El Triunfo in 2021. And my first restaurant report of 2023 is of a few meals eaten at El Triunfo in 2022. El Triunfo, as you may remember, is a small Mexican restaurant in our town of Northfield, Minnesota. When I first wrote them up on the blog, many years ago, I referred to them as our favourite restaurant in our town. This is still the case. The restaurant scene in Northfield has not remained static in the past decade but that’s not to say it’s improved radically—though there have been some welcome additions (Tin Tea and Coco’s Place among them). El Triunfo remains, however, and it remains reliably dependable for what it does: putting out an edited menu of basic Mexican fare; they push no boundaries and follow no trends, but the food is predictably tasty and always a good deal. And they remain an essential part of our town’s cultural geography.

In 2022 we took them a bit for granted. After that first post in January almost the entire year went by before we ate food from there for the first time in early December. And then when we got back from southern California last weekend and were not terribly motivated to get back in the kitchen right away, it was to El Triunfo I went again to pick up takeout for our last restaurant meal of the year. We once again got some of our favourite dishes and, as always, we enjoyed them. Yes, we ate a number of expensive meals in 2022 but to have our year bookended by El Triunfo feels only appropriate.

Before I tell you what we ate I should tell you that the changes to the menu that happened either right before or with the pandemic still continue. The weekend selections still do not include pozole or goat barbacoa, and I’m told it is all but certain they will not make a return to the menu—they just didn’t have enough takers for them. The options for the tamales have also shrunk as have the sides that come with the entrees. And prices have risen a bit as they have everywhere. But the food remains tasty and affordable and their addictive salsa verde continues to accompany most things. And that’s good enough for me.

What did we get at these two meals. At the first meal, it was just me and the missus. She got an order of quesadillas with chorizo and I got their signature pollo plate. We were both very happy. At our last meal the missus and I split plates of their carnitas (still on the go on the weekend, thankfully) and the arrachera (thinly sliced skirt steak, charred on the griddle). Both came with rice and beans and salad. The older boy devoured an order of their milanesa, which also came with rice and beans and salad. The younger boy got two tacos—one with chorizo and one with carne asada. Everything came with some of that salsa verde. And everything was just as we expected it to be. There are worse ways of ending years these days.

For a look at the menu and what we ate, click on an image below to launch the slideshow with captions. Scroll down to see what’s coming next.

As you can tell by looking at the pictures of the menu, prices remain as reasonable as always.

What’s next on the restaurant reports front? Well, my first Minnesota restaurant report of the year will be my last for the next few/several weeks. I have a backlog of reports from our southern California sojourn and we’re off to India for a few weeks soon. Our next meal out in Minnesota won’t be till the middle of February probably. As to what that will be, I have no idea. But if you have any suggestions or new finds you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear from you.



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