Friday, April 9, 2010
Taquitos Mexican Grill, 327 Division Ave S - 4/8/10
Originally opening in February 2009, this restaurant was closed when we attempted to eat there earlier this year. It just reopened and we had the pleasure of dining there today. In an earlier life, the space was Casey’s greasy spoon, and having never been there, we’re not sure about the extent of the renovations. Although the restaurant does not currently offer a warm atmosphere, it definitely has a certain charm about it. Wood floors, wood trim on walls and ceiling, and dark wooden booths were obviously refurbished, along with an antique bar that includes a beautiful mirrored bar back (from the Herkimer Hotel?). Walls are painted either red or yellow and it all somehow works. Decor is refreshingly minimal and other than a couple of sombreros and red chili pepper lights, you won’t see any of the “traditional” Mexican decor you’ve come to expect.
Upon entering, we were met by eight booths along the left wall (cushioned seats), two tables on the right, and the aforementioned bar farther down, on the right. Between the two tables and the bar was an opening leading into an adjoining wood-paneled dining room, which was occupied by a large group from the Catholic Diocese across the street. Due to this group, our initial service was poor as all hands were waiting on them. Eventually a young man, who was noticeably not a server, brought us water.
The booths are a little tight - no large person would be comfortable - and the space would be better utilized if one booth was removed and the remaining seven were spaced out a bit. Two other booths were occupied, and at various times a customer was at the bar. The bar, by the way, does not serve liquor (no license), but customers are invited to sit at one of the four unique, attractive chairs at the bar to order an express lunch-to-go.
Then suddenly we had a server to take our appetizer order, and the other server was right behind to bring us complimentary chips and salsa. Things were picking up and when we started in on the taquitos appetizer, all was well again. Three homemade flour tortillas (cut in half), filled with beef and chorizo, perfectly deep-fried and served with delicious queso dip, were great. Full of flavor, the taquitos were nicely enhanced by the dip.
Bypassing the Mexican American entrees, we chose carne asada tacos and gorditas de frijoles. The tacos were fine and although we couldn’t be sure the tortillas were homemade (probably not made that day), they were, and they were better than you’d receive in most Mexican restaurants. The gorditas were great, lightly deep-fried and stuffed with beans. Both dishes required hot sauce (but that’s our particular preference) and it was freely offered. The menu isn’t huge but they are attempting to produce a few high quality dishes, and you’ll be eating more authentic Mexican food here than in the famously, recently reopened Mexican/American restaurant (you know of whom I speak).
Other than the initial service speed-bump, our server was excellent. There’s nothing on the menu more than $8.00, our tab with tip was $25.00, and we took 1/3 of our food home. Interestingly, this is only the second restaurant we’ve encountered that offered a take-home dish for the dip - nice. The menu is online, and the restaurant offers catering and downtown delivery. With free parking on the street and behind the restaurant, there’s nothing to prevent you from trying Taquitos Mexican Grill.
This restaurant has closed but catering is still available for parties of 20 or more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. It's been replaced by "All American Junkies" restaurant.