In the chips
Chihuahua’s Cantina & Grill has only been open for a couple months, but the room was packed on my group’s Friday night visit. Live music and plenty of loud conversation made for an entertaining evening. The complimentary chips were thin and crispy, served warm with a chunky salsa that was flavorful but also mild. We added an order of guacamole ($8) that was fresh but could have used just a bit more salt and spice.
I slurped down a tasty plate of three fresh oysters ($6) dressed with a squeeze of lime and then shared a pair of ceviche tostadas ($9) topped with sliced avocado. The crisped tortillas held up well under the moisture, and the mix of fish, lime and pico de gallo was delicious. We also shared an order of choriqueso ($8), a melted mix of jack cheese and chorizo topped with pico de gallo, served hot in a small cast iron skillet with a side of small, warm corn tortillas. It was outstanding.
Two of my friends ordered burritos—an el sancho burrito ($12) with al pastor pork and green and red chiles, and an el verde beef burrito ($12) with green chile. Each plate-sized beast was filled with whole beans and rice and topped with sour cream and salsa verde. The meats were tender and full of flavor. I’d have to toss a coin to choose which was best.
A plate of shrimp enchiladas ($13) was covered half and half with red and green sauces and topped with sour cream and Cotija cheese. The shrimp itself was well seasoned and not overdone. Combination plates come with a choice of items and a dessert. I ordered a three-item combo ($14) with an enchilada and both beef and chicken tacos, but instead received a beef tamale. The error was quickly corrected, and they didn’t charge extra.
A pair of charbroiled flank steak dishes were very differently seasoned, yet equally mouthwatering. Arrachera norteña ($16) combined the perfectly cooked beef with chorizo, grilled onion, two small cheese quesadillas, a roasted jalapeño and refried beans, while the tampiqueña ($16) included green chile, onion, melted cheese and guacamole, served with a cheese enchilada.
Our shared el volcan molcajete ($35) was very impressive. The big lava rock bowl filled with charred arrachera steak, grilled chicken, skewered shrimp, chorizo, nopal, roasted jalapeño, onion, queso fresco and ranchero sauce, with both corn and flour tortillas. Sometimes this sort of thing is either overcooked—or one item stands apart from the rest—but the medley hit every note with precision. And it was easily enough food for two to three people.
I’ve seen hamburguesa on Mexican menus more than once, often as part of the kids’ menu. Here they offer four different varieties, and I couldn’t resist trying a chile relleno burger ($14). A big fluffy bun was filled with half a pound of Fallon angus beef and topped with a super cheesy chile relleno, ranchero sauce and even more cheese melted on top. Lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber were on served on the side, along with a huge pile of crispy fries.
We closed out with the tres leches cake—included with the combo meal—and a serving of flan ($5). The cake was finished with strawberry topping and whipped cream, while the sizeable slice of custard pie had plenty of caramel sauce; both desserts provided a decadent end to an outstanding meal.