Asadero Norte de Sonora: Family Friendly and Fit for a King

All photos by Alex Rodriguez
Half parrillada de carne asada
Hey readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.

The Place: Asadero Norte de Sonora
The Food: Northern Mexican fare
The Back Story: Family-owned for the last 10 years.
The Price: $15.50 for a meal that could feed two comfortably.

See also: Parrillada from Asadero Norte de Sonora

It's homey inside Asadero Norte de Sonora. There are no frills about it. Paper towels for napkins and sodas straight out of the bottle. We weren't surprised to find that the restaurant has been family-owned for the past 10 years.

"[My] dad's friends had the [restaurant] idea and they helped him get it started" says Yuriana Bravo, who has been working there for about 9 of the 10 years that her Sonoran parents have owned the restaurant. "My mom and dad work in the kitchen," says Bravo, "and my sister and I help serve the tables."

Surely you're familiar with the sign

The interior is far smaller than it looks from the outside. The inside makes you feel like you're sitting in the sala (living room) of a clay home in Northern Mexico. Tiny, wood-framed paintings line the walls, an a TV mounted above the gum machine glares Spanish game shows.

Visitors can sit family-style at the long bench-like tables in the middle, or take a seat at some of the tables on the outskirts (and by outskirts, we mean like 4 feet from the big picnic tables in the middle).

Before any questions are asked, visitors are brought a warm cup of frijoles a la charra (pinto beans cooked in beer with cilantro, bacon, and onion).

Frijoles a la charra

To drink, we decided to go with a Manzanita ($3), which is an apple soda that's very popular in many parts of Mexico. It's sweet and tart.

Manzanita and chips and salsa

Depending on the day and time of day you decide to go, service may not be its selling point as there isn't a particularly large wait staff. Rest assured, though, that whoever is there is polite and welcoming. But at restaurants like Asadero, service is not the point.

That's where the menu comes in. At first glance, it's full of typical Mexican cuisine -- tacos here, burritos there, tortas, guacamole and other more commonly known usuals. At Asadero, though, perhaps the most popular dish on the menu is their parilladas (meats from the grill) and pollo asado. Chicken is offered whole or halved. The same goes for parrilladas, but guests can choose three different meats for one parrilla, like chicken, carne asada, and al pastor.

We ordered una media parrilla de carne asada ($12.50). Don't make the mistake we made and forget to order two other types of meat. A big oops on our part, but in the end it didn't matter because the carne was great.

Carne asada, char-grilled cebolla y jalapeño
We felt like a king when they brought our parrilla - it's huge, and looks beautifully rustic. It also sits high above the table on a metallic parrilla dish, so it fit with our current state of food royalty.

The parrillas come with a plate of warmed tortillas, a cup of simple guacamole, pickled red onions, halved key limes and cucumber slices.

The steak was tasty, though we did find the need to add a little salt. The beauty of this monstrosity of a dish is that there is no wrong or right way to eat it, so we made tacos.

A half parrilla is huge, enough to share between two people -- that'll make the price look much better, though by no means is this a pricey establishment.

A burrito, which is enormous, will run you less than $5. The burrito al pastor smelled delicious, and we couldn't resist taking a bite. At that point we were reassured that our olfactory senses were on point.

The next time we visit Asadero, we might just stick with the burrito, but if you're in for a huge and delicious meal for two, go with the parrillada.

Just don't forget your crown.

Graphic by Claire Lawton
I'm here to eat, y'all!

Eating 16th Street So Far:
Eating 16th Street: Let's Begin at Pollo Sabroso
La Frontera Taco Truck: A Hit and a Run

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Location Info

Asadero Norte De Sonora

122 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Dominic Armato
Dominic Armato

Next time you have a steak at home, try grilling it naked and then adding salt.  Not the same.


And what the hell is wrong with putting on your own damn salt?? 


 Yes I always order ahead to go on my way to or from work depending on the day.  Tacos al pastor are the best! I prefer corn to flour tortillas so only got a burrito once but it was fat and worth the price. The horchata there tastes delicious too.


Stop telling people about this place, as it is i have a hard time finding parking space!!!...

not too bad of grub
not too bad of grub

Hey this guy, yup parking not fun, but consider calling ahead. To my knowledge, only closed on Wednesday, so I usually go Thurdays 1 pm or so works pretty good, in and except parking, bring your Thursdays everything seems freshest

This guy
This guy

I used to enjoy their food a lot, but I stopped going there for several reasons.  First, their hours are completely unpredictable.  They were closed for weekday lunch more than once, no sign or explanation.  Second, when they're open, their small parking lot is often full (good!) to the point of being quite dangerous (bad!), and nearby street parking is not an option-- once you've passed the place, it's difficult to circle back.  Third, the food could take an extraordinarily long time to come out, which is not ideal for a lunch break. 

Joel LaTondress
Joel LaTondress

granted, it's been about a year and a half since i went, but this place kinda bummed me out. all the meats on our parrillada were dry and lacking salt. the costillas were tough and flavorless. the charro beans, however, were great. i've heard they do chicken well, so thanks for the reminder.

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