Do read on :)
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Cascadas Mexican Restaurant Review - Beacon, NY
Margaritas for lunch: one of many sacrifices made in the name of journalism.
Do read on :)
Do read on :)
So, we decided to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Cascadas, an unassuming little Mexican restaurant housed in a row of shops under a little hotel, right on Main Street. Being Beacon, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds, but this building was indeed included in the renaissance of recent years. Small and set under the balcony of the hotel portion of the building, Cascadas and the adjacent shops could be easily missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
The restaurant seats around twenty including the bar and a table or two out on the front patio. The lights are kept low and the walls are decorated with shadowboxes and a back-up of the storefront sign. The bottles on the bar were arranged in a pyramid and featured various rums and tequilas. The bar is attractive, seemingly well stocked with a number of Mexican beers, tequilas, and mescals.
We experienced a technical difficulty with the camera, unfortunately, so we don’t have pictures of everything we ordered.. which may or not be a good thing; read on.
The waitress brought out the requisite chips and a respectable salsa.
Editor's note: The salsa was just okay - things like red and green bell pepper do not belong in real Mexican salsa. See my post here on how to make real deal, authentic Mexican salsa.
Our first course was a pitcher of margaritas. Hello, lunch! The mixture was solid: nothing top-shelf about it, but balanced and nice and smooth going down. The pitcher offered about five and a half drinks in total, which carried us through the meal.
Editor's note: The pitcher of margaritas was very good. They didn't skimp on the liquor, good real lime juice taste.. the orange liqueur I wasn't quite as sure about, but all in all it was a great pitcher and was a fair value at $25. I would get the pitcher of margaritas again in a heartbeat. Very tasty, well made, good value - and again, they weren't stingy with the tequila!
For an appetizer, the waitress suggested tamales, made special for Cinco de Mayo. These came out piping hot and served open-faced on the corn husks they were cooked in. Made of nothing more than polenta, green chiles and some chicken, the tamales were simple yet tasty with just enough spice.
Editor's note: These were authentic and delicious, and absolute STEAL - I figured they'd be around $5-6 each, they were $2 a piece. Had I known this, I would have gotten a couple more. Tasty and delicious, a bargain at twice the price!
I ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast ($12.50). Comprised of several pieces of flattened seasoned chicken breast, a pile of rice, a pool of beans (which were whole and saucy rather than a paste), a small salad of lettuce, tomato and perfectly ripe, freshly-sliced avocado, and about a quarter of the plate full of sweet plantains, this dish was safely enough food for two people. Fresh, homestyle, not drowning in sauce or seasoning, I found this dish immensely enjoyable. I would get it again ten times out of ten. I ate like crazy.
Editor's note: I had a fair portion of her dish and there was still food left on the plate when we were done. A solid meal at a good value. I wasn't nearly as crazy about it as the lady was, but indeed it was made competently with good presentation.. nothing bad about really, just not much in the flavor or wow department for my tastes. But the lady adored it, this must be mentioned.
Purely in the name of journalism,
Editor's Note: Purely, PURELY in the name of journalism!
..I tried another cocktail from the menu, a Brazilian drink called a caipirinha. Think of a mojito without the mint and with lemon juice mixed with the lime. It was citrusy, sweet, refreshing and something I would get again.
This visit was not entirely hearts and flowers, sad to say. Fajitas should be any Mexican restaurant’s signature dish, but the ones here fell a little flat. The flavor wasn’t bad but the meat did not seem to be skirt steak, as is the traditional cut. We gave them the gentle advice of charging a little more in order to offer a little more.
Editor's Note: Okay, this is where the restaurant LOST ME and I won't be ordering food there again. I love fajitas. I love skirt steak. They did NOT SERVE skirt steak, it was some... unknown cut, but it was not skirt. I asked gently, "Are you sure this is Skirt Steak?," offering them a chance for both of us to save face. The waitress insisted that it was.
The meat was tough, flavorless, and not really edible. I left 80% of it on the plate. The rice and beans were okay but.. serving somebody food like this is unforgivable. I took pictures of everything but due to technical difficulties with the camera they did not make it to the blog. Maybe it's for the best that I save you from the carnage.
This was not our first visit here; there was a reason we came back. So maybe avoid the fajitas, but try the tacos, burritos, or even the Grilled Chicken Breast. If you get the chicken, call me. I’ll split it with you. You know, for journalism.
So there is the review. In short, come for the drinks, maybe get that chicken dish - but don't even bother with the fajitas. To even give that name to what I was served is insulting. I would take the lady back here again if only to get her the chicken dish she liked so much.
Me? If I eat anything here it will be a nice dinner of margaritas in a salt-rimmed glass.
Verdict: Come for the drinks.