Sunday, April 09, 2006

Restaurant Review: Frontera Mexican Cuisine, Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL

For lunch on Sunday, we tried the new location of Frontera Mexican Cuisine, by the Florida Mall (the former Hops Restaurant spot). Frontera also has a location in Kissimmee. Frontera did a nice job decorating with the Hops space, with Spanish-style tiles on the tables and warm colors that give it a friendly and fun atmosphere. Grandma and Grandpa were disappointed that we couldn't order off the lunch menu, which is only for weekdays, but the dinner menu is pretty inexpensive and everyone was able to find something to order. The kids' menu consists of just a few simple puzzles and the menu on a colored piece of paper. BB loves menus like that. Give him a crayon and a piece of paper and he is happy. Kids' offerings are $3-$4 and include Mexican items like quesadillas, tacos, and enchiladas, as well as "gringo" items like chicken fingers and cheeseburgers. Strangely, one item is french fries for $2 - is that considered a complete entree for kids nowadays? LB ordered the cheese quesadilla, which comes with rice, and BB ordered the enchilada, which comes with rice or beans. Grandpa asked the server if it was a cheese enchilada and we got a nod from the server. BB decided on the beans on the side. For the adults, entrees range from $6-$11 for the "Mexican Dinners", which is all the traditional favorites, and $10-$16 for the "Especialidades (Specials)", such as steak and fajita dishes. Grandma and I went for the Flautas Mexicanas - five rolled corn tortillas stuffed with chicken or beef and then fried. I asked for two beef and three chicken and Grandma concurred. Grandpa asked for the Fried Beef Chimichanga. For the most part, the majority of the Mexican Dinners come with sour cream, pico de gallo (the chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro), and guacamole, which is great as most restaurants charge extra for those condiments. Hot chips and salsa arrived, as well as our drinks. The chips were crispy and the salsa was slightly spicy. Kids' drinks are served in plastic kids cups although the server brought BB his drink in a regular glass (BB was very pleased that he was considered old enough to get a "real" glass). The food took a while to arrive, probably close to half an hour, and it was hard to keep the kids entertained. However, several servers did keep the drinks and chips coming during this time. When the food did arrive, I was surprised to see that my flautas did not come with rice and beans. I know it didn't indicate that on the menu but I had just assumed it would accompany my flautas. The flautas themselves, however, were delicious. I think I prefer the chicken ones best as they were a bit softer and tastier although Grandma liked both. There was a verde (green) sauce on the side for dipping and the sauce was nicely spicy. Grandpa's chimichanga was HUGE. He almost didn't finish, and he ALWAYS finishes his food. He said it was nicely spicy as well. LB somehow picked all the tortilla off his quesadilla and just ate the cheese, although every bit of the cheese. He ate some of Grandpa's chimichanga as well although he thought it was spicy, too. He would just eat a bit, say "spicy", drink some lemonade and then repeat. For some strange reason, BB was served a bean enchilada with rice on the side. Certainly different than the expected cheese enchilada with beans on the side. Maybe when he said beans the server thought that was the kind of enchilada he wanted? BB is a big refried bean fan though and ate most of his meal, although he left the rice alone. Really, except for the long wait for the food, we had a very nice meal for a weekend lunch.

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