At the Table: El Mexicano does it all, from ceviche to flan

If you love authentic Mexican food, head as soon as you can to El Mexicano Dos, on South Broadway.

El Mexicano Dos

WHERE: 208 S. Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

MORE INFO: Phone 226-0105. Handicapped accessible. All major credit cards accepted.

COST: $72.77

If you love authentic Mexican food, head as soon as you can to El Mexicano Dos, on South Broadway.

The food is excellent, the menu is extensive, there’s a full-service bar where you can get Mexican beer and margaritas, and Mexican art is everywhere. Even the tabletops are hand-painted with scenes and themes of Mexico. The staff, all members of the Vazquez family, is efficient and charming.

We went for dinner on Valentine’s Day and found a respectable number of celebrants, but were surprised there weren’t more. But, it was a Sunday night.

Moments after we settled at our table, our server appeared with a big basket of warm tortilla chips and a bowl of freshly made salsa of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and enough minced jalapenos to give it a nice bite.

This was followed by another complimentary appetizer — a warm cheese quesadilla.

I wanted to try the ceviche ($8.50), and my dinner partner was interested in the black bean soup ($5.50). We ordered both and were very glad we did.

The ceviche, which is a dish for two, was a bowlful of shrimp, lobster and crab bits marinated raw in lime juice to “cook” it and served cold in a salsa of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime. It was delightful, especially after we squeezed another lime wedge in it.

Savory soup

The black bean soup — topped with finely minced raw onions rather than the dollop of sour cream I’m accustomed to — was a savory treat, with an underlying meat flavor mingling with the beans. There would be no leftover sopa to take home.

I chose the Bistec Ocoteco ($19.95) for my entree, shell steak sautéed in garlic and Mexican spices and served beneath a pile of sautéed onions and mushrooms with an undressed green salad on the side that included sliced radishes, tomatoes and lettuce. As with all of El Mexicano’s platillos tipicos, the steak came with side dishes of refried beans con queso and rice with veggies.

The steak was a generous cut, tender and flavorful if not as rare as I’d have liked, and the sautéed mushrooms and onions added immensely to its flavor.

My guest selected the Chicken Mole Poblano ($15.95), a traditional dish that El Mexicano does well. It makes for a pretty presentation: Chicken breast fillets are covered with mole sauce — a dark brown, richly flavorful and glossy purée of roasted poblano peppers with chocolate, among other ingredients — and sprinkled lightly with sesame seeds. I took a bite — purely for research purposes — and declared it delicious, and I didn’t hear any dissent from across the table.

El Mexicano serves a complimentary dessert of fried bananas rolled up in a soft taco shell and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. But, as delicious as that is, we wanted flan, the traditional Mexican dessert ($3.50), and we were right.

The cold, velvety custard topped with caramel came with dollops of whipped cream, chocolate drizzles and cherries on the side, which was really unnecessary. The flan was heavenly all by itself.

Our tab for two entrees, two appetizers and desserts came to $72.77. El Mexicano Dos — the original is outside Hudson Falls on Route 4 — also offers a luncheon menu beginning at 11 a.m.

Other possibilities

Other selections from El Mexicano’s dinner menu include tamales of cornmeal dough stuffed with chicken, flautas (tortillas fried to pastry flakiness, filled with chicken and garnished with guacamole and sour cream), and chimichangas (shredded beef cooked with onions, tomatoes and peppers, rolled in a flour tortilla and fried and served with guacamole and sour cream garnish).

From the menu’s specials section — which is even more extensive than the platillos tipicos — you can find such dishes as Mixiote (marinated pork loin with sweet pasilla pepper, olives and butter that is cooked by slow steaming); Camarones Tequila (shrimp sautéed with butter, herbs, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro); and Campesino Platter (breaded steak, pork in green sauce, shrimp in white sauce), served with Mexican salad and rice.

There’s a Ranchero Platter (serves two for $32.95) featuring Carne Asada (grilled shell steak); two pork carnitas, chorizo, guacamole, refried beans and corn tortillas.

If the food and the ambiance weren’t enough, all the women who visited El Mexicano Dos on Valentine’s Day were presented with a long-stemmed red rose.

We were already plotting a return visit as we left the place.


We finished our dinner at El Mexicano Dos, settled our tab and were chatting casually since neither of us was in a particular hurry to leave. Then our server came over and asked, “Would you care for a complimentary shot of tequila?” We thought that was a fine idea. It was a nice conclusion to a memorable meal, and it certainly helped take the nip out of the winter air when we left.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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