A new Mexican restaurant opened last week on the corner of Cary and Harvie across from Chop Suey. The restaurant’s located in a great new infill development that’s livening up Cary St. west of Meadow.

Unfortunately, the food at Little Mexico is in need of a little livening up.

According to Ross Catrow, the restaurant is part of the Mexico chain, though their website doesn’t have this location listed. I’ve never eaten at the Mexico chain, so I can’t comment on this branch’s similarities or differences to others.

The chips and salsa came immediately after being seated- as if some hovering worker’s sole job was distributing the standard appetizer. The salsa was reasonably fresh and tasty, with visible cilantro leaves and chunks of onions.

Unfortunately, the rest of the meal was a disappointment.

I ordered a vegetarian combination dinner, very reasonably priced at $7 (I think…) It included a mushroom quesadilla, a potato enchilada, and a chile relleno.

Whatever cheese they used in the quesadilla was pungent- in a bad way (I’m a cheese snob, I admit, and this was not good cheese.) I didn’t finish the quesadilla. The mushrooms were sauteed perfectly and well-seasoned, but completely overwhelmed by the terrible cheese flavor.

The potato enchilada was, according to the menu, made with “potatoes cooked with onions and tomatoes.” On my plate, they tasted like dry and under-seasoned mashed potatoes, with no discernible onion or tomato flavor. The enchilada sauce was decent, but not noteworthy, and not interesting enough to compensate for the lackluster filling. I was hoping for something akin to the glories of the potato taco at Nate’s Taco Truck, but Little Mexico’s version didn’t come close.

Finally, the chile relleno, a dish I find tests the quality of any Mexican restaurant (see my Viva Mexico restaurant review, for an example). Little Mexico’s version was pleasantly spicy and the cheese didn’t taste off like the quesadilla’s. The sauce was a complex mixture of spice with just a hint of sweetness. It was the best dish of the combo platter. But overall, it was still mediocre americanized mexican fare.

So, for those keeping score, the 2 new Mexican restaurants on Cary St. fail to impress with anything other than their location.

**Update: I ate a potato taco from Nate’s today and he told me that Mexico’s potato filling seems to made from powdered mashed potatoes.  This is exactly what Little Mexico’s potato enchilada filling tasted like- powdered mashed potatoes without enough water added.   Nate’s, on the other hand, are made with real shredded potatoes, carrots, onion, spices… Mmmmm.

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