El Gallo Giro – Mexican Grill

By Steve Larosa

Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. There’s, uh, shrimp kebabs, shrimp Creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger . . .” Hold it right there, Bubba!

This litany of decapedible (my word) delights may sound familiar. That’s right, it’s Bubba, schooling Forrest Gump on the endless choices of crustacean preparation. We halted the “prep parade” at shrimp burgers because shrimp burgers are the grand marshals of the menu at El Gallo Giro.

Jimmy’s Famous Shrimp Burger is the main man of the menu at El Gallo Giro, on Franklin Boulevard south of Fruitridge Road. Owner Jimmy Guzman created it as a kid fiddlin’ in his mom’s kitchen. He liked it. His family liked it. No word from the dog. So the next logical step was to build a restaurant around it. And the ingredients of the “it” in question? The shrimp-and-mozzarella mixture is cooked on the grill, topped with tomatoes, jalapeños and sliced strawberries, and served on a grilled bun. Jalapeños and strawberries. There . . . I said it.

There are other interesting creations at this south-side taqueria. Says Jimmy, “It’s not just a taqueria and not just a hamburger joint.” Jimmy also serves up a deluxe burger, made with a ground-beef patty, shrimp patty and grilled cheese, topped with grilled onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and chipotle chiles. You also can order a bacon burger, a mushroom burger or the popular bacon dog, which comes with sour cream, diced onion and tomato.

There’s a great selection of tacos, burritos (built on 14-inch tortillas), enchiladas and hot Mexican sandwiches known as tortas. We recommend the grilled chicken torta, the three-enchilada combo (cheese, chicken or shrimp with cheese and sour cream inside and out) and the pork quesadilla, made with pork marinated in orange and pineapple juices with dried California chiles.

For his shrimp cocktail, Jimmy boils the shrimp in chicken broth, then adds a concoction of ketchup, diced onions, cilantro, avocado, cucumber and lime juice. This dish could benefit from a bit more bite.

There’s a wide variety of great food and plenty of fun menu surprises at El Gallo Giro. And the hospitality is primo. Jimmy has a million-dollar smile that makes his customers feel like honored guests.

5701 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 421-2155; open 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday.