Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An adventure authentico at Del Campo a la Ciudad

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 9:53 AM


If searching for authentic and exceptional Mexican food, most Little Rock residents know you need only explore the south side of our fine capital city. Perhaps this region feels a greater pull towards our North American neighbors due to its more southerly latitude, but there is no question lower Little Rock houses one of the highest concentrations of fine ethnic food in Arkansas. In certain areas, at certain intersections, it’s almost as if you need only close your eyes and point in some random direction and you’ll be facing a respectable Mexican dining option.

I’ve often driven down S. University Ave. with eyes peeled, scoping out the fabulous-looking dining options that stud this street like a golden picket fence. One such location is Del Campo a la Ciudad, which I believe, (based on my poor recollection of high school Spanish) either translates to “a camp in the city” or “a decent place to get taco-drunk.”

Del Campo proffers a rather sizeable menu, indeed, it can be a bit overwhelming and anxiety-producing to the chronically indecisive patron. The options are extensive, including everything from tacos and burritos to the somewhat less common huaraches (an oblong fried masa dish), sopes, tostadas, and tortas…the kind of things you’d expect from a place genuinely attempting to appeal to the Latino population. Meats and fillings of nearly every variety may be included in the vessel of your choice: chorizo, carne asada, pollo, al pastor, and barbacoa. More adventurous eaters will find pleasure in items not likely to be found on any Taco Bell value menu- chicharrones, papas (a Mexican diced potato dish), buche (pork stomach), lengua, tripe (cow’s stomach), and cactus.

My meal started with the great equalizer of all Mexican establishments, tacos. The corn tortillas are pressed slightly thicker than the average supermarket option, giving them a somewhat cakey, chewy texture. Where most street tacos achieve this mouthfeel by wrapping their tacos in a double layer of tortillas, Del Campo does it with a single, thicker variety. While their flavor was full of earthy, toasted ground corn, they would have benefited from a bit more seasoning, a light touch of oil, even a touch more salt. Nonetheless, they were sufficient to support their innards, the contents that truly helped these tacos shine. My choice of fillings included a few personal favorites: pastor, chorizo, and asada. A chorizo taco rarely disappoints. Spicy, porky, and greasy…what’s not to love? It’s a relatively forgiving sausage to prepare, its soft texture and inherent richness and spice give it such a distinct flavor, most restaurants can pull off a fairly decent version with minimal effort. Their al pastor, similarly, finds itself on the more bold side of the flavor fence. Marinated chunks of pork, stained a bright reddish-orange from a nearly excessive amount of seasoning, are tossed around in white onion and given a quick sear on the flattop. The resultant pork is gently charred and crisp in spots, while most remains juicy and tender. Lastly, the asada left me wishing I has opted for another filling. The strips of beef were not terrible, but they were a bit dry, bland and stale.


While I was fully expecting to be excessively stuffed with the amount of food soon to be consumed, I simply could not pass up the delicious looking enchilada plate. Here Del Campo takes their thick flour tortillas and stuffs them with shredded chicken, beans, and Oaxacan cheese. These are then doused in a spicy red enchilada sauce, teeming with chili pepper and tomato, and fried up on the burning flattop. The outer edges of the enchiladas become crispy, almost to the point of burnt, before they are yanked from the heat and thrown on a plate with a side of lettuce, chopped tomato, and avocado. I am a true sucker for Oaxacan white cheese, that mild, creamy, stringy-soft cheese that slowly melts across the surface of many authentic Mexican dishes…I was pleased by its inclusion in these enchiladas. However, I feel this dish could have benefited from a bit more red sauce, perhaps a light spoonful over the top to finish things off, as the cooking process seemed to dry it out a bit too much. Still, these enchiladas were a pleasantly played riff on a beloved Mexican staple, one I would be happy to eat again.

Del Campo a la Ciudad has a menu large enough to keep any authentic Mexican food enthusiast exploring its dishes for weeks. Their taqueria, in fact, makes up only a small part of their store. You’ll also find a good selection of popular Latino groceries, Mexican fruits, a wholesale meat counter, and bakery. It’s worth pulling over if, like me, you’ve passed by often, curious about what possible treasures lay within.

Del Campo a la Ciudad
6500 S. University Ave.
Little Rock
(501) 562-1281

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Speaking of...

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by Daniel Walker

  • The Kraft Mac & Cheese Food Hack

    Recently, we held another food hack competition, taking another childhood classic, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and tried to turn it on its head, creating something entirely new and unique. Again, the results were pretty awesome. The rules were simple: Use a whole box of mac and cheese, both noodles and cheese powder, and turn it into any sinister monstrosity imaginable. We had a vote via the Eat Arkansas Facebook page to crown a winner. Here's what was submitted:
    • Jul 30, 2014
  • Food Feedback Friday: The "We need your vote!" edition know the drill with Food Feedback. Tell us what you're eating this week and what you thought about it. I love to hear all the suggestions and I'm frequently looking back through your recommendations to determine my next meal. So share away! Happy weekend, y'all.
    • Jul 25, 2014
  • Looking in on the new Le Pops, now in the Heights

    Le Pops is a wonderful addition to the Heights neighborhood. Laurie Harrison is incredibly dedicated to her product, she still works here 7 days a week and is constantly experimenting in the kitchen to develop new flavors. Check them out the next time you need a cool down.
    • Jul 24, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The Lemon Cakery is pure bliss

    In the eternal and often epic battle between "cake" and "pie," I normally come down on the pie side of things. The Lemon Cakery puts that rule to the test—deliciously.
    • Oct 1, 2015
  • A sneak preview of Fourquarter Bar in Argenta

    A look at Fourquarter Bar in Argenta, brought to you by the folks behind Midtown Billiards. Beer, barbecue and killer cocktails abound!
    • Feb 23, 2016
  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation