The artsy red statue guarding the Palmer Ave. entrance to the new Rio Bravo Tacos & Tequila that opened about a month ago gives just a hint of the south-of-the-border pleasures waiting inside. It is a sprawling 200-seat restaurant strewn with colorful Mexican art and artifacts, multiple seating areas in the front, side and rear, along with a big bar for socializing.
The renovated location had previously operated as Globe.
Personable hosts and owners are brothers Edgar and Hector Brambila who also operate a Rio Bravo in Fairfield, CT. and have another in the works in Westport.
A friendly hostess took us to our table while our eyes kept glancing at the Technicolor atmosphere. Our waiter handed us menus. Suddenly, an adorable guacamole cart came whizzing by testing our palates further. And the menu: it is not ordinary. It is limited and it plays on what we have come to describe as Mexican-American, and once you taste some of the specialties it will surprise you.
It certainly did us. Over two recent visits we ordered the Milanesa Chicken Tacos, hand battered fried chicken wrapped in a tortilla covered with melted cheese, roasted poblano crema, pico de gallo and mixed cabbage; A big Combo platter loaded with Enchiladas Suizas, corn tortillas rolled and stuffed with chicken and cheese, topped with melted Monterrey Jack, tomatillo and sour cream; Pork Carnitas, open face quesadilla made with pork carnitas, mixed Mexican cheeses, pico de gallo, Mexican crema, queso fresco and cilantro; and a Taco Veracruzano, flour tortilla with blackened tilapia, poblano crema, topped with roasted Mediterraneo salsa. The Marco Pollo Taco, bacon wrapped shrimp, tortillas covered with melted Jack cheese, caramelized onions, cabbage mix, pico de gallo and Cholula garlic crema. And, oh yes, one evening we also had an order of their Poblano Crema Corn on the Cob.
Additional menu options include: Torero Steak Fajitas, a giant portion of wood grilled marinated skirt steak; Southwestern Caesar Salad, a spicy twist to the traditional Caesar with corn, tomatoes, cotija cheese and chicken Milanesa, tossed with chipotle-ranch dressing; Square Knot Salmon, achiote and lemon seared salmon with roasted pineapple; and Emilio’s Calamari Tacos, tortillas covered with melted Jack, caramelized onions, crispy calamari, mixed cabbage, mixed cabbage, pico de gallo and Cholula garlic crema.
Special Hint: Rio offers Happy Hours Monday thru Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm featuring half price house drinks and appetizers. There is a large selection of Tequilas at the bar, and you can also build your own Margarita.
Rio Bravo Tacos & Tequila 1879 Palmer Ave., Larchmont www.riobravotacosandtequila.com
Open for lunch Monday thru Friday, 11 am to 3 pm. Prices at lunch: $8.50 to $20. Dinner served 7 days a week: to 10 pm Sunday thru Thursday; to 11 pm Fri & Sat. Prices at dinner: $14 to $20. Bar/lounge for cocktails. Private party facilities for up to 40 guests. Major credit cards. Casual dress. Handicapped accessible. Ample free parking. Reservations suggested for larger groups: 914-341-1546. www.riobravotacosandtequila.com
(Morris Gut is a restaurant consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for over 25 years. firstname.lastname@example.org)