El Paso, TX
El Cometa is a popular lunch and late night hangout on the strip of Mesa Street near UTEP, and I think it will remain popular because of its good food and cheap prices. The food is nothing fancy–they only serve tacos and flautas. From my sampling of the flautas, though, they seem to do it better than just about anyone else.
One thing customers like is that they have a salsa bar where you can load up on all the salsas and toppings you want. There is not a large variety of these toppings–the only salsas available are red or green (the green is spicier). I think if salsas were my main concern I might prefer other restaurants (El Taco Tote, for instance, has a very good salsa bar). At El Cometa, though, the food seems to be the main draw and the toppings are mainly something people expect with this type of food.
Orders here come with chips, and you get the salsa from the salsa bar as well (red, green, or both). I should note that I thought the red salsa was quite good.
El Cometa has drinks such as horchata which do not come with refills, but they are inexpensive. As a matter of fact, the restaurant seems to exist on being able to charge the cheapest price possible for good food (they do not have some of the “extras” such as alcoholic beverages but customers are left with enough money in their pockets to enjoy the nearby bars).
Food is served from the counter and customers do whatever they wish with their food from the salsa bar. Although this is pretty much a fast food concept, I felt that it had an atmosphere that made people want to stick around, talk, and enjoy the meal more than at the typical fast food restaurant (in this regard it reminds me a lot of Chicos Tacos).
So far I have only made one visit to El Cometa, leaving me with my first impressions which are the ones I am sharing here.
I believe Flautas are the only menu item which is not some type of taco. I also read from reviews that flautas are what many people consider to be the best item here.
In my opinion the flautas here are probably at least as good as the ones at Flautas Tepalca, and possibly better (Flautas Tepalca has been what I have considered to be the best flautas I have ever experienced). This is a very tricky subject because Flautas Tepalca now has more than one location, and I have had slightly different experiences at the different restaurants. With only one visit to El Cometa I can only say that this one might be better, but for sure it was quite good.
The flautas here only come with beef (as they are at Flautas Tepalca). Crema and cheese are added to the top, and there are other garnishes such as tomato and avocado. At Flautas Tepalca I liked the fact they they topped the flautas with red and green salsa, as well as the crema and avocado. I also thought the cheese at Flautas Tepalca was especially good.
At El Cometa you add the salsa to your own taste, and I think the salsa here is just as good. I came in with the knowledge, though, that it was supposed to have both red and green along with the crema (the colors of the Mexican flag). This is not a big deal, but with El Cometa being a fast food type of restaurant, you do not really get any instructions about the best way to enjoy the food (and of course I am sure most people do not need any).
There are several types of tacos here. I did not try any so I do not know how they compare to other restaurants.
The Horchata here was not the most notable I have ever tried but it was good. In other cities I would just be glad they had horchata at all, and even more so if it was as good as at El Cometa.
I believe the El Cometa in Ciudad Juarez is the original, and the El Paso location gives a true feeling of a typical Mexican style restaurant. The majority of restaurants in Mexico seem to specialize in one item or else that is all they serve. Here that specialty is tacos, along with flautas which are a special type of rolled tacos that are made to look like a Mexican flag with red and green chile, avocado, and crema on top.
I think there are other “chow worthy” items here, but the flautas are the one I have discovered so far, and that I definitely recommend.
Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 am Daily
Smoking: No smoking
Most Recent Visit: Jan. 31, 2019
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Flautas