Jalapeños Grill's open kitchen and terra-cotta-colored walls please patrons' scanners, and authentic south-of-the-border dishes treat tongues to sweet and spicy flavors. Diners polish taste buds with appetizers such as shrimp vallarta, sautéed jumbo shrimp hot tubbing in chipotle-honey-mustard sauce and melted cheese ($10.99).
Named for the friendship of restaurateurs Abelardo Gallego, Manuel Vazquez, and Andres Cervantes, according to Wicked Local, Three Amigos crafts a menu of familiar Mexican specialties, each tailored to taste homemade by including fresh, natural ingredients, often from local sources. Seafood dishes abound as morsels of shrimp and scallops take on traditional south-of-the-border spices in the form of chipotle, jalapeño, and poblano peppers. Meanwhile, five styles of enchiladas swim in colorful sauces including the signature mole, which RocklandNews.com calls "punchy" and "genuine" with "plenty of sweet and savory flavors." Ten types of margaritas extinguish mouth fires caused by peppery spices and attempts to install rear molars with mood lighting, and a bevy of Mexican desserts crown meals in sweetness. In the dining room, soft lights illuminate vivid orange walls emblazoned with paintings of cacti, and curtain-lined booths lavish diners with a prime listening space for live music and standup comedy.
Offering the yin and yang of casual comestibles, yoTaco's menu fires up taste buds with tacos, burritos, and other piquant Mexican bites and cools them down with creamy frozen yogurt. Seven unique tacos ($5.50–$7.50) tantalize fingers with pockets of marinated beef brisket barbacoa style or achiote-spiced mahi-mahi with cabbage and pico de gallo. Large flour tortillas swallow up fillings such as chicken with green salsa, seasonal vegetables, or smoked pork to create that most portable, and thus most easily misplaced, of sandwiches, the burrito ($7.50), and a mantle of bacon and guacamole confer the status of Sonoran hot dog ($6 each/$10 for two) on humble sausages. Lips and teeth reach a happy accord with the soup-and-sandwich combination ($5), happily slurping traditional hominy stew and sinking into gooey cheese quesadillas. To finish off the meal in sweet style, storms of berries, candy-bar bits, or stampedes of gummy goats pelt peaks of fat-free chocolate or vanilla frozen yogurt ($3.99 for a regular cup with one topping) and, for an additional $0.25, threaten to release other sweet tempests to rain down onto confections in a dairy-dimpling hail.
You would be hard pressed to find a can opener anywhere in the kitchen of Cilantro Mexican Grill. That's because the restaurant's chefs don't need one; they only cook with fresh ingredients. A typical day in their kitchen sees the chefs mashing the nutty flesh of ripe avocados into guacamole, slicing fresh tortillas to be fried and sprinkled with lime juice, and grilling adobo-seasoned chicken, steak, and fresh line-caught Atlantic pollock purchased from local fisherman at the docks of Point Judith, Rhode Island. Local growers get in on the action too, supplying the kitchen with tomatoes and onions. All five locations serve mason jar margaritas and craft beers with the Cranston location finding patrons sipping one of 20+ brews.
For Anthony and Denise Sierra, California-style burritos aren't just a fast and healthy meal. They're a tribute to Mark Tryhubczak, the chef and friend who brought them together. After teaching Anthony to cook and Denise to tend bar, Mark introduced the couple at his own burrito shop, Block Island Burrito Company. Together, the trio turned the fledgling business into a local gem in the early 1990s. Though Mark has sadly passed away, his legacy lives on through Anthony and Denise's joyful eatery, which helps patrons to build their own memories around plates of nachos and steaming bowls of chili. Anthony handcrafts the entire lineup of edibles each day, making every bite more refreshing than a mentholated dunk tank. Flour tortillas encase seven types of burritos, which teem with seasoned meats and colorful veggies such as bell peppers, sweet corn, and ripe red tomatoes. Instead of gift-wrapping microwaves and trimming sun rays with frosting, guests can celebrate heat waves on the patio while sipping festive margaritas and three types of sangria.
Tortilla Flats tempts tasters with an alluring melting pot of classic Mexican eats, peppered with hints of Cajun and southwestern cuisine. Lunch and dinner patrons can sup on an eclectic array of quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, classic Mexican combination plates, and entrees. Debate the anatomical impossibilities of an order of wild boar wings (plain, buffalo, or barbecue style, $8.99) before moving on to heartier fare such as the cowboy steak tips ($14.99) or the habanero mac 'n' cheese ($13.99). Combinations of tacos, burritos, tamales, and enchiladas tantalize statisticians with a bevy of possibilities ($7.95–$9.95), and blackened catfish Naw Leens ($13.95) and Bayou Crawdad cakes ($9.50) transport taste buds to the murky environs of Cajun country, replete with Zydeco-blasting tooth accordions.