reviews of tacos!

Oye Amigo's

Marshall MI

207 michigan ave, marshall MI 49068
mon-thurs 11am-8:15pm, fri-sat 11am-8:45pm

Oye Amigos (Marshall MI) - taco review

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Rating: 90
Price: $

A little over a year ago, discovered that Michigan was the unlikely home of the best tacos in America (not to mention the best reubens on Planet Earth). Since then, various affiliates have returned to various parts of Michigan to consume various comestibles. On a recent coney-island-themed journey to Michigan's eastern edge, business associate Erin and I stopped by Oye Amigos to sample some tacos from the state's molten core.

Marshall is a town completely and entirely obsessed with local history, to their great benefit. Most storefronts in town have some sort of historical artifact on window display, if not a history of past businesses in that location (or, in the case of the dentist, creepy old dental implements). In that vein, Oye Amigos has a small shrine to a restaurant named Emilio's along their eastern interior wall. The apparent backstory is that the owner of Oye worked at Emilio's (in nearby Battle Creek) for twenty-some years until his death in the 1990s; after Emilio's closed down, she opened up Oye Amigos to continue the tradition of Mexican food along the I-94 corridor.

Apart from the pleasant decor, the first thing we noticed about Oye Amigos was the impeccable service. After finding out we had (shockingly?) never visited Oye Amigos before, our bearded waiter brought us a small plate containing samples of their rice, chicken, beef, beans, and enchilada sauce (referred to as 'gravy' at Oye) to aid the decision-making process. This was tremendously helpful; the beef was delicious, ground and cooked with potatoes into a thick slurry. The chicken was fine, but fairly mild and unremarkable. The beans were refried and had a rich flavor, and the gravy was smooth and spicy and really did taste like a gravy-salsa hybrid. In addition to the samplers, we were also informed of two important facts:
1. Portions are sizable.
2. Any food comes with additional tortillas on the side.
With all this information in mind, I ordered a half-and-half taco with beef and beans, and my business associate ordered the same flavor of enchiladas.

After a brief wait, our food came out, and both facts #1 and #2 were proved correct. My taco was more or less a single crunchy corn tortilla placed on a plate, smothered with layers of beans, the beef/potato mixture, lettuce, cheese, and a tomato slice. Without the side of tortillas, this would have been a disaster - the filling to tortilla ratio would have been dangerously high. However, the warm lightly buttered corn & flour tortillas were plentiful, allowing us to both use tortillas to make personal tacos with the excess fillings - somewhat like a taco/fajita hybrid. Thus, though a single taco is priced at over $4, the fact that I was able to make 4 tacos using the materials provided places Oye Amigos firmly in the '$' category.

In addition to the extreme value, the quality of the tacos was high. The bonus tortillas were warmed and prodigiously buttered - thus, it was impossible for them to not be delicious. The beef was sloppy and medium spiced, with predominantly cumin and pepper overtones, and the refried beans had a satisfyingly smooth flavor. Naturally, when all of this stuff was mixed up into a pile of goopy mess and placed into a tortilla with some of the gravy, an excellent flavor package was delivered to one's mouth. Oye's main weakness was in the auxiliary ingredients - parts of the taco that are not absolutely necessary for success, but can add a lot. The cheese wasn't particularly flavorful, and the quantity of iceberg lettuce was slightly excessive. The tacos were lacking onions and there was only one salsa option (which we only received because Erin had ordered the enchiladas).

In some ways, Oye provides Mexican food in the tradition of American comfort food - hearty, warm, filling, flavorful but not too spicy, voluminous. We were only too happy to bring some tortillas and bean/beef slurry away with us on the road - and only too emotionally crushed when it ended up becoming filled with garbage-infused water in a Detroit hotel room (one of the risks associated with storing your leftovers in a garbage can). However, based on our collective previous experiences with leftovers, we can estimate with 99% certainty that Oye's would have been delicious and satisfying, as was our in-restaurant experience.

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