Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Try Cantina Mezcal for Its Generous Portions; Fresh Tex-Mex from a Heavyweight Menu at A1A Shopping Center

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Try Cantina Mezcal for Its Generous Portions; Fresh Tex-Mex from a Heavyweight Menu at A1A Shopping Center

Article excerpt

Byline: Jay Magee

If affordable, family-friendly Mexican eats are what you seek, and you live in Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Valley or the Nocatee communities, or don't mind driving there, add the new Cantina Mezcal Authentic Mexican Grill to your "to-dine" list.

The restaurant, which opened in mid-June in an A1A shopping center formerly anchored by The Fresh Market, can claim some "fresh" superlatives of its own after my visit last Sunday night.

First, some disclaimers. Gourmet Mex, this isn't. Servers quickly deliver complimentary chips and salsa to your table. Then there's the heavyweight menu, which aims to please all comers with a larger-than-normal array of tacos, burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. You'll also find steak, chicken, seafood and pork entrees. Portions are generous, and so is the value for what you get.

On my Sunday evening visit, the dining room was rocking and rolling with a lot of families. The place is colorfully decorated and offers plenty of booths, tables and a long bar. The not-quite-handful of wall-mounted flat-screens reinforce the restaurant's casual nature.

For starters, I dug into the Empanadas with Shredded Chicken ($8.99 for three empanadas). And "dug" is the operable word there, since I had to excavate a layer of cheese, cabbage, guacamole, sour cream and tomatoes on the entre-size plate to reveal the turnovers. They were huge, lightly fried, topped with shaved parmesan (an interesting flavor for a Mexican restaurant) and served with a honey mustard-style dipping sauce. The guacamole and cabbage were obviously quite fresh and a joy. That made for an easy and tasty meal for most mere mortals.

The empanadas could not upstage the main event, however. But a word of warning here: the sauce atop the Enchiladas Chipotle ($10.99) is not for the faint of heart. It's not Three Mile Island, but it will induce your beverage-fetching reflex. The tightly wound shredded beef, ground beef and chicken enchiladas were expertly seasoned and filling, along with a generous side of serviceable Mexican rice.

Never one to shy away from a sweet treat, I opted for the Apple Burrito ($3.50). Fear not: no beans were used in its construction. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.