Friday, July 31, 2009

Rosa Mexicano Invades Jersey

Someone once said "All there is in New Jersey are chemical factories and malls." Well I add that there are some fantastic restaurants in these Malls. One of which is Rosa Mexicano (390 Hackensack Ave/ 201-489-9100), a chain of Mexican restaurants that started in New York and now exists in six states on the east coast. It's popularity is less due to the authenticity and more to the quality and consistently great tasting food.

Anyone that has been to Rosa Mexicano can attest that the food and drinks take you on a journey away from the hustle and bustle of the big city life and into a flavor paradise.

To start off, a heavenly guacamole was delivered which paired nicely with a salsa pasilla de Oaxaca (Oaxaca is a state in Mexico where they traditionally smoke the chile pasilla). There was also a green tomatillo sauce which I mostly ignored because I wanted to douse all my food in the smokeyness of the pasilla chile sauce.

The guacamole is made fresh in front of your eyes on a fancy cart. The cart's main feature was the basket of avocados that were shaped perfectly, as if picked for the Aztec kings.

As an appetizer, we shared the empanadas de jaiba (crabmeat turnovers) which were served with fresh fruit pico de gallo and an avocado tomatillo sauce. They were perfectly cooked and crispy on the outside. The sweetness of the fruity pico de gallo contrasted well with the crabmeat. Jaiba is the word for crab in certain Latin American countries including Mexico.

Time for the bigger plates. We had some enchiladas suizas(Swiss enchiladas with tomatillo sauce and chihuahua cheese) which tasted pretty standard for a Mexican restaurant of it's tier but still really good.

To seal the deal, we tried the grilled skirt steak marinated with chiles and grilled with chihuahua cheese. It was served on a hotplate to keep the cheese grilled and soft enough to enjoy decadently with each bite of the steak or by itself. Served with a side of rice corn and beans. The entire meal was fantastic.

Rosa Mexicano is priced fairly for its upscale feel and great quality. Appetizers are $8-$14, Tacos are $13-$15 and Entrees are $17-$22.

I recommend going for lunch since dinner is more expensive and definitely have some margaritas with the guac.


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