Food Crush: Parillada at Chile Tepin

In my book, a food crush is “a sudden, overwhelming appreciation for the flavors, textures, and culinary craftsmanship of a specific dish or ingredient, leading to a phase of repeated enjoyment and exploration of similar foods.” Sometimes, that sudden appreciation comes from a new and exciting flavor or ingredient. And sometimes, it shows up as a dish I’ve always loved that fell off the radar for a bit.  

I was recently reminded of one of my food crushes when I wrangled my extended family up for dinner at Chile-Tepin. I used to live a few blocks away from their Downtown location in the Crane Building, but after a move, I hadn’t visited in a year or two. One of my favorite ‘shared dishes’ in town has long been their Parillada, or Mexican-style barbecue plate, perfect for sharing amongst two to three people. 

In Mexico, Parillada usually takes the form of several different types of meats, seafood, and vegetables, all grilled up on a plancha. It is served up with salsas and tortillas. At Utah’s Chile-Tepin, the Parillada comes with grilled carne asada, flame-grilled chicken, shrimp, and grilled onion and jalapeno and arrives at the table piping hot on a griddle plate with quesadillas stuffed with Oaxacan queso and refried bean tacos. It is a BIG serving. The menu says that it serves two, but you could even serve three if you get a good appetizer, like the Toritos (yellow peppers stuffed with jack cheese and shrimp) or the Queso Fundido with rajas (fire-roasted poblanos) and chorizo. Both are great warm-up dishes. 

Chile Tepin Utah
Chile Tepin’s Paloma. Photo by Adam Finkle

At Chile-Tepin, the Parillada comes with multiple accouterments, including a spicy (and I do mean spicy) house-made salsa, crema, guacamole, salty/crumbly queso fresco, pico de gallo, tortillas (corn or flour or both). You also get a bowl of soupy charro beans named charros, after Mexican cowboys. They are pinto beans stewed with onion, garlic, and pork. You’ll want to eat them with a spoon. 

I love a good choose-your-own-adventure meal, and Parillada is about building the perfect bite. Tear off a bit of tortilla, slather it in sour cream, add a piece of asada and some tender shrimp, and top with the salsa you choose. Or add guacamole, grilled chicken, and queso fresco to a spoon of beans. Finally, be sure to grab a cocktail to wash it all down. I’m a big fan of the Chile-Tepin Paloma, made with grapefruit soda and Cazadores Reposado.  

If You Go…

Chile-Tepin, 307 W. 200 South, SLC, 801-883-9255

Open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11;30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed Sunday and Monday. 

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Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez
Lydia Martinez is a freelance food, travel, and culture writer. She has written for Salt Lake Magazine, Suitcase Foodist, and Utah Stories. She is a reluctantly stationary nomad who mostly travels to eat great food. She is a sucker for anything made with lots of butter and has been known to stay in bed until someone brings her coffee. Do you have food news? Send tips to

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