The real deal

For the past two weeks, I’ve been eating Mexican food on a regular basis. Perhaps Cinco de Mayo had something to do with it.

When Erin and I entered Rigo’s last Thursday, I thought it was Friday and that I was in the midst of Rigo’s Cinco de Mayo fiesta. The place was packed. There was only one table open in the small restaurant.

We seated ourselves at the last available table, and a waitress from across the room smiled and gestured that she would be right with us. When she approached our table, she seemed flustered. She told us that the owners hadn’t scheduled enough help that day. After handing us menus and taking our drink orders, she darted off to the next table. She did the best she could under the circumstances.

The menu is small. Vegetable quesadillas, corn empanadas and ceviche ($6.50 each) are the three starters the restaurant offers. I wish they offered more. The appetizers seemed delicious from the menu’s description. I wanted to try the ceviche, a mix of fish and shrimp, lime juice, onions, jalapeños, roasted tomatoes, and cilantro. My mouth watered. But since Erin was in the mood for a vegetable dish, we decided on the quesadillas for an appetizer.

Rigo’s menu features two salads. One is a simple house mixture, the other a healthy chicken salad called the ensalada Azteca ($7.75). Selecting entrees was difficult. I couldn’t decide if I wanted the fajitas ($10.50), the grilled and marinated pork chops ($9) or the shrimp vallarta ($11). The shrimp was soaked in lime juice, mushrooms and spices, and covered with a pineapple salsa. I finally selected the fajitas; the deciding factor was that I believe an indication of a good Mexican restaurant is how well they prepare fajitas. Erin likes enchiladas, so for her meal she chose the chicken enchiladas ($8.50).

It took a while for the appetizer to arrive. But when it did, we were quite pleased. Fresh zucchini, onions, mushrooms and radishes fell out the sides of the flour tortillas that dripped with cheese. They weren’t greasy, as is the case in other restaurants. Rigo’s quesadillas are delicious.

Despite how busy it was, the waitress did a good job. Our drinks were always full, and it didn’t take very long for our entrees to arrive, especially since we didn’t order them until just about the time our appetizer was delivered.

My sizzling fajitas were outstanding. There were plenty of red and green peppers; tender sautéed mushrooms and onions complemented the huge portion of marinated beef on the platter. It was too much. I had to take half of the fajitas home with me. Erin, on the other hand, said her enchiladas were average. I tried them and thought they were good.

For dessert, flan ($2.75), pastel de queso (cheesecake, $2.75) and pudin de arroz (rice pudding, $2.50) are offered. Since I couldn’t finish dinner, I ordered a slice of cheesecake to take with me. Later in the evening, I devoured the dessert, and it was good.

The service at Rigo’s could’ve been better, but I understand what can happen some nights in the restaurant business when the management doesn’t schedule enough help. However, the food served at Rigo’s was great. Like their TV commercial says, they serve authentic Mexican—something I appreciate. And yes, I did drink the water.