Mexico Lindo on Main Street in Melrose opened last week, and we've been there twice. The owners are friendly and solicitous. Both times we've been, we've seen a man (one of the owners, I gather) frequently touring the dining room and checking each table to make sure the staff is doing their job.
The decor is a bit kitschy, with bright colors and painted wooden furniture, but that's fine for the menu and clientele- both times we've been the room has been crowded with families. Thankfully, they realized that the fluorescent lighting was too bright and harsh and are now using the softer recessed lights.
You can tell that there's someone cooking in the kitchen who cares- it's easy to tell that they are not using processed ingredients- everything tastes made from scratch, starting with the margaritas. It so nice to have a real margarita without that fakey sour mix. An impressive tequila lists offers about 20 different tequila options. I'm a purist but they do offer frozen versions including strawberry, raspberry and... banana? Gonna take a pass on that, myself. Chips and homemade salsa were excellent.
While everything we've tried so far have been pretty good, I think they're dumbing down the flavors and spices for the suburban diners. Carnitas de Puerco wasn't much more than cubes of roasted pork, with a mildy interesting pico de gallo or something like that mixed in. It didn't come with the advertised tortillas, guacamole or sour cream. The pork was good roasted pork, although a bit dry and definitely needs more seasoning. Tacos al Pastor came in very good soft tortillas and was pretty well spiced. Chorizo con huevos was a finely ground mixture of scrambled eggs and very good chorizo. Tamales were dry, Enchiladas and Tacos with shredded beef were very good. On the first visit, beans were way underflavored, on our subsequent visit they were a bit more interesting. A request for hot sauce yielded a bowl of habanero sauce that lived up to the warning the waiter gave with it. VERY hot sauce- a few drops had me sweating.
Flan wasn't very interesting- too vanilla puddingy and the caramel sauce needed more of a burnt sugar flavor, although I really enjoyed the firm and creamy texture. Deep fried ice cream was fine.
I'm thrilled to have them here in Melrose, replacing Pauli's. which was popular with a lot of my neighbors but never impressed me. We don't have anything particularly interesting in the way of Mexican food in this area, so I think (hope!) they'll do well here. Parking is available on street or in a lot behind the restaurant. Oak Grove T is about a mile and a half away.
449 Main Street in Melrose, Massachusetts
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