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.
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.
If your diet of boiled cauliflower and dry-curd cottage cheese has left you hungry for habanero-inspired anything, plunge a warm tortilla chip into the depths of the seven-layer dip ($8.99), or try the spicy shrimp "snake bite" poppers ($8.99), crisp fried jalapeño poppers stuffed with shrimp and cheese. Cactus Grille's extensive entree selection includes bejazzled burgers and other hand-held delights, such as the chipotle bacon cheeseburger ($8.49), smothered with chipotle mayo sauce, or the salmon chimichanga ($14.99) with poblano molé sauce. Other enticing options include Cactus's house-specialty barbecue ribs ($13.99 for a half rack), slow-cooked and doused with the house Mayan barbecue sauce, or the DIY filet dinner ($18.99), wherein sliced portions of filet pre-cooked rare arrives at your table along with a sizzling cast-iron platter that allows you to sear the meat to your desired degree of doneness. Mexican-dining traditionalists will enjoy the selection of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and fajitas, while dessert-inclined diners will find solace from the fiery fare in the southern plantation key lime pie ($4.95) or cheesecake chimichanga ($4.95).
Banners of colorful papel picado decorations flutter above Cafe Sol Azteca's seasonal patio, where a tile mosaic wall echoes the folk art hanging in the main dining room. Inside, chefs whip up guacamole—ranked among the best in the city by Boston Magazine—and simmer chicken in rich chocolate-infused mole sauce, or tuck tender cactus into salads. These specialties match with more than 15 varieties of margaritas, such as the blue frozen margarita and the Three Generation Margarita with a glass rim that the kitchen staff rolls in salt uphill both ways.