Founded in 2005, Ixtapa Mexican Grill and Cantina rode a wave of authentic mole sauce and frosty margarita mix and expanded from one location to four. They treasure the same family recipes in each kitchen, be it the mild green tomatillo sauce sauteed with traditional pork Chili Verde or the signature fish tacos with mango. The d?cor and specials, on the other hand, varies from joint to joint, with the Lunenburg location boasting stucco-like walls with red accents and a taco bar during NFL games.
The chefs at Mezcal Cantina marry the flavors of Mexico and the American Southwest in colorful fusion dishes, while bartenders fill glasses with margaritas, agave cocktails, and draft beers. Starting out, diners can build their own guacamole tasting flights with their choice of three varieties, including the Thai Rooster with dried pineapple, toasted coconut, black beans, and Sriracha sauce. As far as main entrees, the menu continues pampering palates with chimichangas, enchiladas, and tacos, which come stuffed with eclectic ingredients such as adobo chicken, Asian beef, or BBQ duck. Meals end on a sweet note with fried ice cream and dark chocolate bread pudding made with raspberries, caramel sauce, and unconditional love.
Dining at a Mexicali Fresh Mex Grill is a different experience in every city. While every location shares the same Guadalajara based menu—with plates of authentic enchiladas, fajita burgers, and flautas covered in ranchero cheese—the decor of their dining rooms varies from location to location. In Spencer, Massachusetts, diners gaze at warm-toned desert paintings and statues of running horses, whereas the Ware, Massachusetts, location treats the eyes to views of blue-tiled divides and potted plants. In Holden, Massachusetts, a look around the dining area gives customers views of brightly painted walls on which ponchos and hats are hung, simultaneously providing colorful scenery and ideas for repurposing their old swimming trunks at home.
The chefs at this small, authentic eatery appease appetites with a slew of classic Mexican fare, including burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and favorite entrees. Diners can stoke hunger fires with meat-infused taquito bites or fajita nachos, piled high with cheese, onions, peppers, sour cream, and either chicken or steak. Hearty enough to combat extreme hunger and put dents in passing cars, california burritos provide homes to spiced meat, cheese, rice, and beans. The chimichanga del mar hides generous hunks of crabmeat, scallops, shrimp, and veggies under a deep-fried tortilla cloak, and street tacos, despite their name, are better to eat than they are to drive over.
For the cooks at Mezcal Tequila Cantina, guacamole means more than just avocados given a firm, loving hug. Half a dozen different varieties mix in inventive fixings such as toasted coconut and smoked almonds. That deft blending of traditional dishes with unconventional flavors extends past the appetizer round. Classic burritos and quesadillas arrive heaped with everything from asian beef to barbecue-duck confit. Even familiar ingredients are used in surprising ways, as with the chorizo and sweet corn stirred into risotto.
But food is only half the menu at Mezcal. The other half is dedicated to more than 100 tequilas, a selection that Worcester Magazine calls “by far the best list in Worcester, and undoubtedly in Central Massachusetts.” Aside from pouring smooth and smoky liquors, Mezcal’s bartenders mix margaritas from real fruit purees and house-made syrups.
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.