THE ORIGINALMEXICAN CAFE
1401 Market, 409-762-6001.
With its bright, bouncy colors, paper flowers, and pots of bougainvillea on the patio, the Original could have been created by central casting. Depending on what you order, you’ll finish with a smile or a grimace. The fajitas Jalisco, so tantalizingly described on the menu, emerged as rather dry, lukewarm strips of beef. On the other hand, the tacos al pastor (piping hot corn tortillas filled with tasty grilled pork) were everything they should have been, especially with their spunky tomatillo-jalapeño-avocado sauce.
Guacamole: 3. Chips: 3. Salsa: 4 (with bountiful cilantro and a delayed bite).
4908 Seawall Boulevard, 409-621-2630.
This seawall cafe jumps on a Saturday night, the noise of happy diners mixing with the strains of recorded salsa music. Shrimp fajitas—eighteen medium-sized crustaceans—came with an unusual and delicious combination of pan-broiled scallions and white onions, olives, capers, red peppers, and a bit of pineapple. Chicken quesadillas were stuffed with cubes of grilled breast meat—strips would be better, but there’s no quarreling with the generous portions. What decor there is consists of a handful of curios and the occasional travel poster.
Guacamole: 2. Chips: 3. Red salsa: 5. Green salsa: 3.