Hass avocados, cilantro, and fresh lime juice are just a few ingredients diners might recognize as a chef whips up guacamole right before their eyes at Poblano's Mexican Bar & Grill. From the restaurant's grill come specialty dishes including the alambre mixto, a dish typically found in Mexico City that combines grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo with grilled peppers, pineapples, and melted cheese. The taqueria offers up five suggestions for specialty tacos that include carne asada, pork carnitas, shrimp, sliced pork, and grilled fish. Poblano's also delivers fresh flavors via catering for special events such as luncheons, parties, or the day fifth graders win their citizenship by reciting the preamble to the Constitution.
Monterrey’s chef, born in the restaurant’s namesake city, populates a menu with traditional Mexican dishes such as chilis poblanos, five kinds of fajitas, and seafood. In the sizzling fajitas ($9.95+), strips of steak or chicken roll up into flour tortillas as soft as a mattress stuffed with daydreams, and chihuahua cheese melts inside two deep-fried poblano peppers ($9.95). Delight taste buds with seafaring dishes such as the camarones al chipotle, where shrimp mingles with vegetables in a creamy chipotle sauce ($12.95), or tackle 10 inches of soft tortilla with chicken or steak, rice, bell peppers, and surfer jargon in the Super California burger ($11.95). Although not covered by this deal, the cantina pours carafes of homemade sangria alongside lime and peach margaritas ($9.50/half pitcher).
The speedy chefs at Pescado’s Burritos whip up fresh California-style Mexican fare and prepare handmade guacamole every morning for guests seated in a colorful, relaxed dining room. A variety of marinated meats from land and sea nestle inside white, wheat, or spinach tortillas, creating Mexican classics and house specialties including fish burritos. As customers dine at rustic wooden tables, natural light pours through the floor-to-ceiling glass storefront and illuminates cheery yellow walls.
Bright serapes, a tile-covered bar, and Aztec-style hangings immerse Sol Azteca Mexican Restaurant's diners in an infectiously festive atmosphere. Greg Cox of the News & Observer praised the sprawling menu of authentic Mexican standards enlivened by "pleasant surprises," drawing special attention to the chiles poblanos' "swirl of creamy, complex spicy flavors." Chefs adorn tender beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp with avocado and jalapeños while stuffing vegetarian combos with black beans, spinach, and potatoes. When the weather permits, a spacious patio opens up onto a scenic stand of trees, whose leaves wave enviously at their brethren basking in the taco salad's guacamole and crispy shell.
At Carnitas Guanajuato—a restaurant founded by a family from Mexico's Guanajuato region—chefs roast pork carnitas for up to an entire day in order to maximize the juiciness and tender texture of this signature dish. They also concoct other generational Mexican recipes from the freshest produce and cuts of meat possible. Their house specialties include succulent barbecued lamb, pork coated in savory mole, and chickens that are roasted whole in accordance with Friars Club tradition. Sautéed shrimp arrive topped with fresh-cut jalapeños and tomatoes, and enchiladas swaddle chicken, cheese, or steak beneath a ladle-full of spicy sauce.
Owner Dalton Espaillat can be stubborn when it comes to what he allows in his kitchen at Three Amigos Mexican Grill and Cantina. He won’t permit premade sauces, or anything but the freshest vegetables and meats. He insists that the previous day’s rice, beans, and stove be discarded, and that new batches be whipped up in their stead. Dalton’s team of skilled chefs is more than happy to oblige, nimbly folding their ingredients into Mexican specialties lauded by reporters from CBS Charlotte as the best in town. The culinary team also specializes in traditional seafood dishes such as camarones a la diabla, loaded with plump shrimp. The kitchen staff extends their culinary expertise to a sweeping array of enchiladas—including the enchiladas poblanas with mole that reporters from Creative Loafing praised as “boldly complex” and “densely flavored.”
Come nightfall, the chefs turn their attention to a late-night menu of Dominican specialties, from empanadas to chimi burgers—ideal snacks after a long night of dancing or rustling oxen. Customers await their meals out in the lively dining room, clinking glasses of micheladas and freshly squeezed margaritas.