It’s a small place, maybe 10 small tables inside, and 3 outside in a patio alongside Colorado. In addition to the prepared food, they also have a variety of packaged salsas, moles, coffees, tortillas and other food items you can take home and use for your own cooking.
The menu is creative, with interesting titles and combinations of ingredients. There are choices such as cochinita pibil tacos, a squash blossom and poblano chile burrito, and a taco with tocino and stringy cheese ala Oaxaca. And hats off to actually naming a dish Pinches Nachos.
After you order at the counter, they bring a basket of chips and a bowl of fresh-tasting salsa to your table. The chips are crispy and delicious, but the salsa, while fresh-tasting, is nothing extraordinary. I’ve seen different kinds of salsa being served with the chips, including a green salsa which I need to try.
The old standby carne asada burrito is hardly the old standby served at other places. It’s a ball of food about 5” long by 3.5” around. It’s served on a piping hot plate with cheese melted over the top. This is a lot of food, much more that it initially seems. This is an improved version of the common dish.
Abuelita’s enchiladas are served flat, not rolled. They’re made with cheese, but you can add chicken or shrimp. And you get a choice of red or mole sauce. The red sauce was fine, but like the salsa for the chips, it didn’t really do it for me. But the tortillas were soft like rolled enchiladas and I did like the flat preparation. It serves to spread-out the flavors. The beans that come with it are pinto beans, not refried but instead they're saucy without being too runny. Rice is brown and served in the molded shape of a pyramid on the corner of the plate.
For drinks, in addition to sodas, waters, etc., they have fresh horchata, tamarindo and a fruit punch.
In terms of food, this place strives to be a fancypants place, both in the creativity of the menu and the quality of preparation. However, it doesn’t quite click with the atmosphere, particularly at this price point. For example, the enchilada combo plate and a diet coke was over $14. That’s a little steep for having to order it at the counter, particularly for Mexican food. Frankly, I don’t know if it would work to have table service, as the place is so small it would slow things down to have a server taking orders and blocking the aisle. But I’m more inclined to pay $15 or more for a lunch with full service or $10 for counter service. $14 for an enchilada combo plate is pushing the envelope. And tacos are $3.
But despite the cost, there are a few more dishes I need to try. So I’ll be back. But not very often.
One more thing: Even though it’s technically counter service, the actual servers behind the counter and the runner who brings the food are very friendly and efficient.
1576 Colorado Boulevard (near Trader Joe’s)