The chefs at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant & Cantina aim to cook authentic Mexican dishes unaltered by any Tex-Mex influence. Their recipes reach back generations within the owners' family and several miles into their underground tortilla vaults. Spanish-speaking servers deliver simple combinations of protein or veggies, topped with vibrant sauces: carne asada steak dressed in green pepper and guacamole, tender pork loin in tomatillo sauce, chicken in chocolate mole. The chefs' adherence to tradition doesn't preclude experimentation. Case in point: the dessert burrito, a lightly fried tortilla wrapped around apple-cinnamon or creamy cheesecake filling.
Both the menu and the decor change slightly from location to location—a painting of Mexico here, a tiled mosaic there. Each one, however, has a full bar where bartenders mix margaritas and flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports overhead.
Lively chatter resounds off of brick walls at Cole's Tavern, where wafts of sizzling meats and fresh seafood emerge from the kitchen. As draft beer, wine, and spirits gush into glasses, fresh-ground Angus beef piles onto freshly baked buns and seafood and chicken burrow into nests of pasta. Chefs craft house-made dough for pizzas before arranging toppings, such as mushrooms, shrimp, and calamari, into a likeness of each customer's favorite Impressionist painting. Large plasma TVs and live music infuse the pub with a sense of revelry as bean bags careen across the court of an expansive outdoor courtyard and deck. A private-function room equips up to 100 guests with a full bar and buffet-style catering.
Modeled after a cozy English pub, Ciro's Tavern maintains a menu packed with upscale pub fare, pizza, and delectable seafood, chicken, and steak entrees. Traditional tavern victuals take a posh spin with such options as the baked lobster macaroni and cheese ($12), the Ashworth burger—loaded with caramelized honey-dijon onions and gorgonzola ($8)—and lobster sliders ($3 each). Ciro's chefs smack the finishing topping-touches on eleven varieties of grilled pizzas, including the Lobster Mobster, with freshly cracked lobster meat nestled amid asparagus and tomatoes, reclining atop a molten bed of cheese and alfredo sauce ($13). Stab a fork into the lobster risotto ($18), the house specialty, or give steaks the deep-sea treatment with a coat of lobster cream sauce ($4), enhancing such cuts as the 16-ounce rib eye and 12-ounce sirloin ($18 each).
The eatery, a Woonsocket staple since 1983, invites kids, adults, and ageless immortals into its quaint and comfortable confines for classic homecooked meals. Once diners are settled into a cushy booth, they can feast on soul-soothing meals ranging from family-style rotisserie chicken dinners to homemade chowders and overstuffed sandwiches. To complement these hearty morsels, bartenders sling glasses of wine and domestic brews behind a full bar illuminated by the soft glow of televised sports.
The cooks at Piccadilly Pub Restaurant bake, fry, grill, and assemble a medley of sandwiches, seafood platters, and other comfort cuisine. Haddock fillets take a dip in a light beer batter before trans-fat-free oil cooks them to a golden crisp, and fries and coleslaw cuddle up beside them in a dish of fish 'n' chips ($11.69). A dozen seafood platters harvest additional ocean occupants, including lobster, salmon, shrimp, and mermaid-grown sea vegetables. Baked bowls of shepherd's pie ($9.59) and chicken pot pie ($8.99) release a flood of steam after knives and forks cut into the blistering combination of seasoned meat and vegetables. A different house-made soup holds court daily ($3.50–$4.50), and the soothing staples of Piccadilly clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl ($7.99) and lobster bisque ($4.59–$7.99), taking their middle-school yearbook inscriptions to heart, never change.
Guadalajara, nestled in the state of Jalisco, was the birthplace of many of the flavors used in Mexican food. Those influences shine through in the recipes at Taqueria Mexico, where the chefs draw on family recipes brought by over from the inventive city. The dishes have helped earn the eatery very good to excellent ratings on Zagat.
As at any good taqueria, the gorditas, tacos, tortas, and burritos can be stuffed with a wide range of meats and veggies. Carnitas, pork traditionally slow cooked with green chilies, is nearly as tender as steamed beef al vapor. Lengua, or beef tongue, is also a time-tested taqueria meat. And like the dependents section of a scarecrow’s taxes, the eatery’s quesadillas brim with squash.