#262: Cantina Laredo

11:45AM / Oct. 30, 2021

I made a slight boo boo here, this is actually a chain with 21 locations far and wide (Abu Dhabi appears to be the furthest out). I suppose this is a good first candidate for my relaxed chain rules. This wasn’t even my first choice today, I pulled up at a sushi place a little earlier and realized the hours listed were not the same as I found online. I need to get in the habit of checking multiple sources for operating hours, with everything in flux these days. Well let’s get on with it, shall we?

Today for lunch I visited Cantina Laredo, an upscale-ish, modern Mexican restaurant located in the Galleria’s Promenade. The play area in front of the Cantina was busy with activity. Inside it was much quieter, just a few tables were seated. The large space is clean and well lit. A large rectangular 360º bar is the centerpiece. Surrounding it is standard table seating and booths round the space out along the walls. I was greeted right away by the host and elected to take a seat at the bar.

I skimmed over the 2-sided menu (sorry, only ended up with a photo of 1 side somehow, check it out online here) for a drink and ordered a Modelo Negro (apparently misheard as a regular Modelo, no biggie – they’re both good). Chips and salsa were served up with my beer. The chips were unremarkable. Not warm, little to no salt. The salsa was tasty and it reminded me of a more finely blended version of Chevy’s salsa.

I struggled a bit on what to order. Along with getting back into the swing of trying new restaurants I want to veer at least a little bit away from my usual food selections and check out other things. Barring this I probably would have picked the Crispy Carnitas Bowl (Pork carnitals, cilantro lime rice, black beans, corn, jalapeno, pico de gallo and Monterey Jack, with chipotle wine sauce & cilantro)[$14.50]. Instead I went back and forth a bit on some Pescado tacos or enchiladas, eventually settling on the vegetarian Espinaca Enchiladas (Two enchiladas with sautéed spinach, Monterey Jack and mushrooms, with sour cream poblano sauce, served with cilantro lime rice and black beans)[$16.50].

I snacked on chips while my entree was prepared. It was a quick ten or so minutes to be brought out, on a hot plate as I was warned. The dish was pretty simple. The enchiladas were covered in in their striped white and green sauce and flanked by the black beans and rice. I’m kinda of so/so on cilantro, but let me say the rice was very flavorful with it and really out-shined the beans, which were quite bland in comparison. Despite the hot plate, the thin layer of beans did not have enough heat in them to melt the cheese over top and the plate ended up cooling down rapidly, never giving them a chance to do so.

My enchiladas were straightforward. The soft tortilla was easily cut with a fork, revealing the spinach and mushrooms inside. The whole thing was well balanced and I got a bit of every flavor in each bite. The poblano sauce was nice and creamy with the layer of sour cream to compliment it, but I do wish it were a bit more bold and upfront.

Overall a pretty good lunch. I liked the atmosphere and it seems like a good spot for happy hour with a lively crowd. Prices were on the higher side, which I suppose is par for the course at the Galleria. I received a glowing recommendation for this place from a co-worker a while ago and I would like to return at some point to check out that carnitas bowl. Based on this visit I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5.

https://www.cantinalaredo.com/

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