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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Welcome Back Fajitas!

Mexican grill reopens in new location with new menu

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The Fajitas Grill opened in 2010 to good reviews, contented customers and casual Mexican fare. Last June its doors quietly closed, but a bit more than a month ago, owner Arturo Napoles and his wife, Rachel, reopened the grill at a new location with a slightly revised name. Fajitas Grill Centro is much larger with more seating, a comfortable bar, tasteful Mexican artwork and some of the original Grill’s distinctive orange chairs. The hours have been expanded to include breakfast and lunch and the menu is somewhat larger as well.

Otherwise, much remains the same. A small plate of plantain chips arrives at each table along with an excellent red salsa filled with flavor. But do consider ordering a starter with tortilla chips. The tortillas are made here and that makes quite a difference. Try the chipotle, black bean and goat cheese nachos ($8.95)—chips served with a spicy black bean purée and crumbled goat cheese. It’s not a traditional preparation but innovative and delicious.

Ceviche is one of those appetizers so often botched, but the Grill does it just right. The fish or cooked shrimp options are prepared with flavorful fresh tomato, onion, cilantro and a hint of cucumber. The amount of cilantro, hot pepper and lime juice are in the proper balance, complementing each other instead of competing. This might be the best ceviche to be found locally. The tortilla soup ($2.95-$5.95) is another sound starter—it features tomato broth seasoned with cumin, a dab of sour cream, slices of avocado and crumbles of Añejo cheese. Shrimp cazuelas ($7.95) places sautéed, shelled shrimp in an enticing sauce of garlic and Guajillo peppers.

The 11 different fajitas ($14.95-$16.95) remain as fine as ever. A combination of two is also an option ($19.95). The least expensive are the chicken and veggie fajitas. The chicken is prepared with onion and bell peppers and the veggie consists of zucchini, mushrooms and asparagus. The pricier fajitas include chorizo (a spicy sausage made in-house), scallops and even bacon prepared with a choice of chicken and steak. Servings are quite large and will easily serve two when combined with a starter course.

Other entrées include chicken mole, carne asada and cochinita pibil. The last is slow-cooked roast pork with a sauce of Serrano pepper with orange and lemon juice. The two juices are a substitute for the traditional Yucatán preparation from bitter oranges, which are difficult to find locally.

Breakfast, served until 2:30 p.m., includes familiar choices such as huevos rancheros, chilaquiles and huevos con chorizo. Lunch features a daily special for about $8, but the entire menu is also available. Patrons have new brunch specials to look forward to starting on Cinco de Mayo. The new Grill is already proving popular. At a recent lunch visit, the place was packed but the service was still attentive and the kitchen maintained its pace. Dinners seem a bit quieter, but that simply allows for a more relaxed environment. Welcome back Fajitas Grill.

 

Fajitas Grill Centro

530 E. Mason St.

414-312-7799

$$

Handicapped access: yes

fajitasgrillmilwaukee.com