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Iguanas – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series

A mexican restaurant with a drive through you say? Insert Leo DiCaprio gif here.

At the corner of 750 and 23 exists a cozy little spot with a hefty menu and drive-through margaritas. Yes, that’s right, you can get carryout margs through a drive-through window. Sporting an award for Family Favorite restaurant in 2018, Iguanas survived the pandemic and even got online ordering set up to make things easier on those looking to keep their distance.

Tacos, quesadillas, salads, combo platters, and apps like Chori-queso await along with Columbus rareties like elote, Special Fried Burrito, and Patacon (Whole ripe plantain, flattened and deep-fried, topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, black beans, pico de gallo and guacamole. Served with your choice of shredded chicken, shredded beef, pork, steak or vegetarian).

We’ve traveled far and wide hunting down the spiciest Camarones a la Diabla (and by far and wide we mean within Columbus) and this week we logged another entry into our shrimpy journal. In previous entries, the sauce was a bright red, playful, almost like the shrimp were happy to be swimming around in a spicy sauce.

Not the case with Iguanas Camarones a la Diabla. These shrimp look pissed. The sauce is a dark, angry red, emanating heat from sight alone. Honestly though, past the sauce of rage, there’s also a ton of the sauce, making it a heat bomb whether the shrimp are eaten straight or mixed in with all the side foods.

Taking a chip, I inspected further to see if the sauce would singe off my eyebrows. No burnt hairs, and really no strong smell of spicy, but there I could see a clear bit of tiny seeds within this thicc boi sauce. One chip loaded up I chomped on in. We were unable to get a comment, but from taste alone, there’s a smokiness to this sauce that other Camarones a la Diabla don’t utilize and the flavors come first. Then a wave of heat (likely habaneros) creeps up and hits you in the back of the mouth. Being a thicker sauce, it coats the mouth and the linger hangs in there for a few minutes.

Eyebrows raised, it was time to dive into the devilish shrimp to see if the saucy coating would help this dish become a rising star. Slathered in sauce, the shrimp provide the same experience. Smokey adobo-like flavor up front with a slight chipotle tingle and then a habanero burn that hits like a featherweight prize fighter. Mixing everything together, there was enough sauce to still get a good sense of flavor and heat.

A few sniffles later, I sat scooping the remainder of the sauce out with a chip, swimming after any remaining heat. While it may feature shrimp, the star of the show here is the sauce. All spiciness considered, we’re placing Iguanas at the #35 spot, just before Silohs Screamy Reaper Burger and just after Grandad’s Pizza & Pub Grandad’s Graveyard sauce. Thicc bois make noise and this sauce is definitely noisy when it comes to heat.

You can find Iguanas Mexican Restaurant at 76 W Powell Rd Lewis Center, OH 43035.

For more on Iguanas Mexican Restaurant, take a look at this Columbus Alive restaurant review from 2018

Look below for more on our spiciest dish in Columbus series and hit us up if you have any suggestions that are not already on our list!

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