I don’t know why I associate Mariachi Restaurant with summertime, as I dine there all through the year, but here it is June 1, and I have Mariachi on my mind.
We wound up there last Sunday afternoon on a day alternately sunny and sprinkling. As soon as our party was seated on the second-floor open deck, I knew why Mariachi and summertime go together so well. Up on that spacious deck, you can sniff the salt air, feel the ocean breeze, and if the trees weren’t so thick nearby, you could see the ocean.
It’s the perfect vantage point to check out what’s happening below on Wilmington Avenue and enjoy a sunny/foggy afternoon meal with friends. And part of the reason the venue is so welcoming is its friendly, attentive staff and community-minded owner, Yolanda Pineda.
She left us in the capable hands of our server, as we started off with chips and salsa, plus an order of sweet plantains, fried lightly and served with sour cream. Delish! And a pitcher of margaritas for three of us, plus some ice cold Mexican beer for the others. We took our time before ordering anything else, so we could savor the launch of our al fresco dining for the season.
While my favorite Mariachi dish is the Carne Asada a la Mexicana (grilled flank steak served with guac and rice), being there at brunch/lunch time I switched to one of the special Quesadillas. I chose the steak Quesadilla, with steak in two flour tortillas, with Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole, and sour cream. Bonnie had the shrimp and scallops Quesadillas—we swapped bites of our entrees and both were great.
If you are a brunch aficionado, Mariachi offers classic Huevos Benedictos (Eggs Benedict) with two poached eggs and Canadian bacon on a toasted English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce and served with potatoes. Other brunch options include Huevos Florentine, with two poached eggs and fresh spinach on a toasted English muffin, topped with hollandaise sauce and served with potatoes, and the always wonderful Huevos Rancheros, with two eggs over two crispy tortillas, served with refried beans, cheese, and ranchero sauce.
Our gang also ordered Shrimp Tacos and other choices, including the Chili Rellenos—green poblano peppers filled with cheese and seasoned beef, dipped in egg batter and lightly fried—and the Enchilada and Taco combo (Laredo).
Everything was fresh, flavorful, and not overly-seasoned—although hot sauce is readily available if you want to turn up the heat.
After polishing off the generous portions, dessert was out of the question until our server mentioned the Tres Leches cake. Bonnie’s eyes lit up, and we wound up asking for one serving and five spoons. The moist cake, sweetened by milk, is a winner.
We stayed and socialized until the last drops of brew and margarita were history, then planned our next visit—at night so we could indulge in the expanded dinner menu. I’ve got my eye on the Fajitas Nortenas Al Carbon, with tender strips of beef or chicken charcoal grilled and served sizzling hot with tortillas, rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole, and pico de gallo; or the Salmon in Pacifico—salmon filet topped with light garlic and Spanish caper sauce, served with rice and black beans.
Discussing our choices led to phone calendars appearing, and we are already set for the next visit.
So check out Mariachi for all manner of authentic Spanish or Mexican cuisine. Special dietary restrictions? They do vegan, gluten free, and other meal specialties. There are soups, salads, burritos, tacos, and fine dining chicken, fish, and beef dishes, with a delectable variety of sauces.
And while I opted for the margarita on this visit, try the sangria, red or white. It’s amazing.
You really cannot go wrong at Mariachi, and in fact, it’s a casual, friendly place where everything is just right, rain, shine, or foggy day. ▼