Nachos and Margaritas? Ya’ gotta’ go to Baja’s.
Chips and beer are great, but tortillas and tequila definitely trump the American favorite. At Baja’s they get both right. ..and I’m talking alright, right? Right!
First: the margaritas. They are made good and proper with tequila, triple sec and lime. Do they use fresh lime juice? I don’t believe so. Are they using top shelf tequila? No. Do they top the drink with Grand Mariner? No. Then what makes it so good? While they probably don’t use fresh lime juice, they don’t use crap mix or sweet & sour mix (yes, some places do this, yuck). It isn’t top shelf tequila, but they aren’t using the turpentine some places try to pass off as tequila. The portion is respectable, the price is fair, it goes down cool and smooth. Thumbs up!
Second: nachos. Even if you do not order the Nachos Mexicana, complimentary nachos are provided along with access to the salsa bar. Salsa bar? Yes, salsa bar. Pick and choose from various types of salsa along with an unlimited helping of whole jalapeños and carrots. Carrots? YES, CARROTS… AND THE CARROTS RULE! They are pickled along with the jalapeños, making them spicy and tangy. On most occasions, I have to pace myself so that I do not fill up on carrots.
…and fill up you will at Baja’s. There is only one dish reviewed because every serving at Baja’s is huge. I’ve got many meals, and a doggie bag is usually required.
The Nachos Mexicana is a mountain of dish. Fresh chips topped with cheddar, Monterey jack, sour cream, guacamole, those delightful carrots, refried beans (which can be left out), and carne asada. The carne asada is the beef of dreams. Tender and delicate, but not shredded to near extinction. Served in hearty chunks and liberally added to the dish. The guacamole is simple and creamy. The cheese is not applied too heartily and the sour cream is not overly abundant. Excellent assembly.
I know I’m gushing, but Baja’s just does Tex-Mex right. Granted, they are not the wonderful magic that is Gourmet Laguna, but I almost look at the two restaurants as two different types of cuisine. I’ve been to Baja’s many times and can heartily endorse the carne asada and carnitas (beef and pork). Avoid the chicken. It is not bad, but it lacks characters and is ultimately dull. While serviceable, it will leave you wondering, “Why did I order this?”
Fair warning: Baja’s is located right next to an automotive repair shop. When summer days are especially hot, there can be a light scent of motor oil and axle grease in the air. This could ruin the experience for some, so be prepared if you take the trip on a 90-plus degree day.
Otherwise, go, have a few mixed drinks and enjoy the culinary delights. I am sure that no one will be disappointed.
Baja’s Mexican Restaurant
63 Boston Post Road
Orange, CT 06477