Tucson's south side mesquite-grilled carne asada is worth the trip with hole-in-the-wall joints such as Tacos Apson. However, an unassuming challenger is tucked away east of Tucson Medical Center.
Follow the trail of intoxicating mesquite smoke to find The Quesadillas, 2418 N. Craycroft Rd., hidden north of the Circle K at Craycroft Road and Grant Road. It's easy to dismiss it as just another Mexican fast food joint but don't make that mistake.
Parking is tight (but there's additional space in the back).
The menu is short with quesadillas, tacos, and tostadas. Not a burrito in sight.
For variety, we ordered Carne Asada Quesadilla, Pollo Asado Quesadilla, Veggie Quesadilla, Al Pastor Taco, and Carne Asada Taco.
As it turns out, quesadillas come with a bean taco. It was lightly fried and nice to not have to use a fork.
Namesake quesadillas, however, were outstanding. The house-made tortillas were spotted a mahogany brown with no burned or flaccid sections.
Meats were also noteworthy. The carne asada and pollo asado had the distinct seared edges with mesquite flavor, but were still juicy and tender.
The veggie quesadilla featured a fresh medley of zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and corn. We also found broccoli and peppers, which weren't listed on the menu but we welcomed the addition. Since the tortillas are made with vegetable oil, it's a legitimate vegetarian option that's not undercooked.
While the salsa bar is modest in size, the salsas available are all well-seasoned and clearly fresh.
The Quesadillas doesn't have any gimmicks and just excels with grilled meats, house-made tortillas, and fresh salsas. It's a place where both five-year-olds and jaded foodies will be in bliss.
We've returned countless times. Here are a few things we've learned since then:
The Quesadillas is located at 2418 N. Craycroft Rd. and can be reached at (520) 296-1345. For more information, visit queso520.com.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...