El Corral : Colombian Burger is Worth the Wait
Like Miami, It Looks American, Is Decidedly Latin
Fast Food is the last thing you should call El Corral.
First, since it’s a Colombian burger chain a more appropriate monicker would be “Comida Rapida.” But more importantly, the new mega-burger spot to land in South Florida is neither low-quality nor served quickly.
BIG, QUALITY MEAT AND VEGGIES WITH FLAVOR
But step to the counter and you’ll quickly learn how El Corral, like so much of Miami, looks just like America but is decidedly Latin.
The counter people greet you in Spanish, which gives El Corral a more-authentic feel than a pimply-faced teenager. And correspondence in English, even by Miami standards, is decidedly difficult. So if you have a hankering for a burger and would like to brush up on your Espanol, this kills two birds with one Angus Certified stone.
The burgers come in two different varieties: Half pound patties or two quarter pounders. So either way you cut it, you’re in for 8 ounces of pure MEAT. All are cooked to order so if you, like so many Latins, like your thick burgers cooked to a nice char, you’ll get it that way. Or, if you’re a gringo, they’ll make in your middle-American medium-rare too. The patties are also covered in some sort of secret Colombian spices, which make the flavor almost addictive.
The meat is all certified Angus Beef , creating a higher-quality tasting burger than what one might consider Fast Food.
The selection of unusual toppings like guacamole, Italian tomato sauce and jalapenos have become dr rigeur now with the advent of the Whopper Bar. But while the term “Fresh” is thrown around a lot when talking about burger toppings, El Corral actually uses vegetables that taste like, unbelievably, VEGETABLES. Another aspect that puts them above what one might consider fast food.
UN HAMBURGUESA EN HORA LOCAL
And while El Corral certainly does not fit the figurative definition of fast food, it also does not fit the literal one. On the afternoon we went, 20 minutes after ordering we played the role of impatient gringos and went to the counter asking about our burgers.
“Ohhh,” the girl told us. “You ordered that half pound patty. That’s at LEAST 15 minutes.”
Latin time, folks. Latin time.
In a city where time is about as respected as traffic laws, El Corral’s penchant for slow food in a fast food atmosphere seems to bother nobody. The rumors of El Corral making its American debut buzzed around Miami for months, creating a great anticipation among South Americans familiar with its quality. And when El Corral finally opened its doors, it was met with lines usually reserved for pat downs at Estadio El Campin.
The dining room is always full of relaxed-looking people feeling right at home. Whether they were taking a lunch break or taking the kids to lunch, the crowd on a weekday afternoon at El Corral not only filled nearly all the seats, but were all smiles. A little piece of home in a semi-foreign country can have that effect.
El Corral serves up as good a burger as you’ll find in Miami. As long as you’re not hung up on gourmet creations, fancy atmosphere, or time constraints, the meat flavor and ingredient quality are on par with any $20 hamburger you’ll find in this city. And while El Corral certainly isn’t the cheapest spot in town (a burger, fries and soda will run you about $15) it certainly is one of the best.
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