Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mex in the City

Venus and I visited Mex, at 295 Alexander Street, last Saturday. Our first visit since Mex resumed its restaurant operation.


Mex's edgy yet inviting ambience is especially congenial as the weather turns cooler. Its outdoor patio area does the trick in warmer weather. Good wine selection and good selection on tap. The bar is laid out with a sitting area on either side of the central, curved bar. Both sitting areas have comfy chairs, evoking a slightly disreputable Starbucks. In other words, just the right bar atmosphere. Candle sconces add to the mood, and it's fun to sit in the front alcove with a drink and watch the passing scene on Alexander Street.

The bar crowd is a younger, convivial group. Age-wise typical of the night scene in the East/Alexander area, yet we baby-boomers felt right at home.


Mex's restaurant is upstairs. The experience begins with highly superior nacho chips and salsa. Red white and yellow chips offer the right medium for Mex's home-made chunky salsa. Their salsa is the real deal. None of this out-of-the-jar-from-Wegman's stuff.

Venus had the two-enchilada plate, with cheese and chorizo enchiladas (a deal at $10.50). I had the chorizo burrito (with rice and beans, $12.50). The burrito seemingly defies gravity. I don't know how Mex turns out a light, delicate burrito, given all the goodies it's stuffed with -- chorizo, cheese, sour cream, tomato, lettuce, white onions and pinto beans -- but it does. The result is totally filling while seeming lighter than air, with a wonderfully unique chili sauce overlay. Together with a nourishing tumbler of Dos Equis -- primo.

The enchiladas had a depth and substance lacking in your typical "Mexican" calorie mill's dry tortilla wrapped around the filling. Mex's menu says their enchiladas are "wet." That has to be part of the difference, that and the superior Mex house chili sauce.

Mexican fare as interpreted in the Northeast U.S. often differs little from one place to the other. Mex in Rochester distinguishes itself from the pack. At a most reasonable price.

If you live outside of the City, ditch the suburban chain-swill and see what something genuine tastes like, at Mex.

A superb choice for drinks, but you're missing something special if you don't dine there, too. The restaurant floor's "Mexican skull art" motif is just the thing for a night out in the Halloween season.

295 Alexander Street, Rochester
closed Sunday and Monday

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