Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Today I had lunch at Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. The Tex-Mex food trend has exploded in the past few years with Chipoltle, Baja Fresh, and California Tortilla all getting in on the trend in some fashion. Chipoltle is the most well known brand and in fact there is one right across from the Cafe Rio I visited.

The reviews were all pretty good and many made mention of the fresh tortillas, which I have to take is part of Cafe Rio's claims to fame. The decor is different from most of the other places because it is more crowded and 'themed'. Chipoltle is clean with a modern look but this place seemed a bit more 'stereotypical'. That seems to be the better word with the wooden posts and look of a faux hometown mexican eatery. The menu board is simple and easy to read and it looks like a little bit more than at a Chipoltle and definitely more than Qdoba.

I ended up getting the basic three taco plate, the price wasn't bad at all. I chose the Shredded chicken, fire grilled chicken, and the chilean roast beef. They also have pulled pork and marinated steak. The service is decent, they were kind of busy and when some one orders nachos or extra meat the staff says a little jingle. That could be annoying after a while. The meat is scooped out and out into the foil container and then placed on tortillas and heated. They have a comprehensive set of toppings for you to choose from.

The food tastes good and the reviews were right, the tortillas are flavorful and fresh. They are way better than any other Quick service tex-mex restaurant. Now the roast beef wasn't that good to me. It was roast beef but it was a bit mushy and didn't have enough flavor for me. It was also wet and made the tortilla soggy. The fire grilled chicken was decent and had some flavor and tasted good and fresh. My favorite however was the pulled chicken. It was moist, had a very good flavor, and wasn't covered up in flavors and spices that were extra. It was a great balance.

In totality I wasn't all of that wowed by the service, they were a bit  overwhelmed at first by the crowd and you could tell that the jingles were annoying to them, but the food was fresh tasting and good, especially the pulled chicken and tortillas.

Rating: 7/10

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