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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Fajitas And ’Ritas

Decorative, Delicious, Delightful

By Eric Chemi

STAFF WRITER

Fajitas and ‘Ritas

25 West Street

Mon-Tue 11:30-9:00, Wed-Thu 11:30-10:00, Fri-Sat 11:30-11:00

Green line to Park Street

Entrees $6-8, appetizers $2-3, desserts $3-4

<http://www.fajitasandritas.com>

Near the grassy fields and open spaces of lively Boston Common is an entirely unique eating adventure. Entering Fajitas and ‘Ritas, we found that the walls were completely covered in artwork: not framed paintings mounted on the walls, but rather a graffiti collection created by customers over the years. Thanks to crayons, markers and pens, the restaurant’s walls convey a foreign and exotic feel, a feeling that the place is something special.

A waiter was already prepared for us and led us promptly to our booth. At least for lunch music lightly plays in the background and there are probably 10 to 15 customers at any one time. The place is likely packed on Friday and Saturday nights. A complementary helping of chips and salsa was served. The chips were warm and crunchy and the right shape for dipping, but the salsa was a bit on the watery side and could use more tomato flavor.

With the chips we were handed menus. A Fajitas and ‘Ritas menu is not your ordinary open-and-close laminated booklet. Instead, it is a set of carbon-copy sheets with a check box by each food choice. We used the provided ballpoint pens to make our selections by checking off the appropriate boxes. It’s an interesting way to set up a menu, and of course you don’t have to worry about waiters coming to take your order before you are ready.

Within minutes our appetizer of steak nachos was served. My first thought was, “Wow, this place serves large portions.” It was a good thing we were sharing. With guacamole, beans, sour cream, and lots of cheese, the nachos were definitely a hit. Overall nothing was too spicy, the chips were crunchy, and the nachos weren’t crowded with nothing more than just the right amount of beans.

No worries about quickly disappearing food, though, because our main course was now ready to be served. Soon our main feast arrived: chicken burritos, rice, steak fajitas, and several quesadillas stuffed with chicken and cheese. Included with all this were tortillas, pico de gallo, and of course, lots of sour cream and guacamole. Each of us took a share of each item and began to enjoy the main event of our meal.

The quesadillas were a treat. They gave us several, each stocked with plenty of chicken and cheese. Unlike quesadillas at other restaurants, these did not contain too much on the side of extra spices, onions, and all those other extra items that tend to weigh down the meals. These quesadillas were simple and good.

The steak fajitas are served ready for the customer to assemble. We each took a flour tortilla and spoonfuls of steak, onions and peppers. We rolled everything up into its edible form and once again resumed the eating. The main problem with the fajitas was the excruciatingly low steak-to-vegetable ratio. Of course, the onions and peppers tasted alright, but steak fajitas without the steak is an inexcusable error.

By that point we were feeling somewhat full, but there were still burritos to be consumed. Taking responsibility for the group, I ate a little more than my fair share of rice and burritos, but they were definitely worth it. The burritos weren’t special compared to other restaurants, but the chicken, pico de gallo, cheese, beans, and rice were all wrapped tightly together to prevent any chance of the contents falling out. The worst thing when eating a burrito is when it collapses due to an improperly folded tortilla, but this was definitely not the case here. My praises go out to whomever was wrapping burritos that day.

Overall, the food was great, and in general the steak was better than the chicken. The prompt and friendly staff definitely made the experience more rewarding and from the first minute we entered we always had something to eat. Vegetarian meals are entirely possible from the available choices. They also serve salads, chili, soups, desserts, More than half of their menu consists of alcoholic beverages (hence the ‘Ritas in their name, short for margaritas). Most people can fill their stomachs for less than $10. And if you do eat too much it’s a really nice half hour walk to campus through the commons and along the river.