Last night we ventured to the Green Island area of Worcester to "Baja Grill Neo-Mexican" restaurant, at the suggestion of a friend. The notion of a good Mexican restaurant in Worcester (apart from the fabulous Tacos Parilla Mexicana, which is of a take-out place) is almost too much to hope for, right? Well, score one for the audacity of hope.
I'll start with the caveat: this is located in a challenging neighborhood, one in which timid suburbanites might not normally choose to saunter around after dark. And it's not that easy to find, since they don't have much of a sign yet other than a hand-written poster in the window. But once you step inside, it's welcoming and warm, with small tables covered with crisp, white butcher paper, tasteful Mexican-themed decor, and an open kitchen behind a counter.
We were greeted very nicely and given thick, homemade tortilla chips with two Mexican (not American) salsas, while the attentive waitstaff opened our bottle of red (how I love BYOB). The menu is posted on their website, and its not too long, but offers a lot of intriguing choices, from which we selected cochinita pibil and pollo en mole.
The cochinita was marinated pork in a complex sauce with just a hint ot orange, and was served with some excellent refried black beans, a fiery habanero salso, very nice guacamole, arrroz Mexicana, and warm, fresh corn tortillas. The mole was (to my gringo taste) very authentic, enveloping a half-chicken, sided by some nice beans and pico de gallo, plus the rice, guac, and tortillas. Both were satsifying, beautifully presented, and generous.
We managed to scarf down a very rich and unusual flan de cajeta, and our bill before the tip was less than $32 (have I mentioned that I love BYOB?), even though we had ordered two of the most expensive items on the menu. The service was exceptionally professional and friendly, and the atmosphere made me want to return.
I think I will. You should, too, since I think they need the business; we were the only ones there.