Dec 15, 2011
10:45 AM
Café Connecticut

Mexican Food is Hot! Part 2

 

. . . So, we were saying that Mexican food is hot, hot, hot. For further evidence look no further than bartaco in Stamford, the latest venture of Barcelona Restaurant Group. The idiom is laidback beach bar (concrete floors, whitewashed plank walls), the cuisine upscale street food—think exotic-sounding tacos (Baja fish, pork belly, spicy chorizo, portobello with queso fresco), rotisserie chicken, tamales and gorditas (washed down with lots of cerveza and gorgeous Gretchen-Thomas-designed cocktails). The first one opened in Port Chester, N.Y., in January 2011, a second in Stamford in October. Two more outposts will open in West Hartford and Westport this spring.

Beautiful Besito in West Hartford is in a class by itself, with its own elegant take on Mexican cuisine. Dishes here include Enchiladas de Espinacas (sautéed spinach, wild mushrooms and goat cheese, baked in salsa verde with roated corn and avocado) and Quesadilla de Calabaza (roasted green chiles, squash blossoms and queso Chihuahua, mushrooms and salsa verde) and Budin de Mariscos, a tortilla pie of shrimp and jumbo lump crab, layered in spiced tomato salsa and queso Chihuahua baked with poblano cream sauce.

Picante Fresh Mexican Grill, also new in Stamford, is a “fast casual” grill, with an enticing menu of burritos, quesadillas, tacos and salads, along with low-fat and low-carb options such as the Naked Lunch and the Sta-Fit taco (chicken or all-natural beef, shredded cabbage and soy cheese. There’s a cool “wall of salsa” with eight daily-made salsas ranging from “mild” to “crazy hot.” 

Last but not least is Chipotle Mexican Grill, which just opened its fifth Connecticut location yesterday in Enfield. (There are 1100 others across the U.S. and Canada.) One of their slogans: “It’s not just a burrito. It’s a foil-wrapped, hand-crafted, local farm supporting, food-culture changing cylinder of deliciousness.” The specialties here are burritos, burrito bowls and tacos. But Chipotle touts their natural and pasture raised ingredients, and increasing emphasis on sustainably built restaurants. It may be a chain but it’s a lovable one.

Mexican Food is Hot! Part 2

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