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Monday, January 2, 2012

Miguel's, Tampa, FL

After a solid month of holiday carbo-loading, Underdog and I wedged ourselves into our "fat jeans" for a last hurrah before our January 3rd "back to the real world" Atkins Diet embarkation. Since we wanted to go out with a bang, we opted for the most fat-laden, caloric food on the planet...Americanized Mexican. Hello, Miguel's!

Miguel's is surprisingly warm and cozy on the inside with nary a sombrero nor serape in sight. None of the usually ubiquitous red and green, either. If there wasn't a wall of tequila behind the bar (yay!), it would be tough to tell that you were in a Mexican restaurant.

We were immediately presented with the standard issue chips and salsa. I liked the salsa better than most. I don't like big chunks of veggies in my salsa and there was none of that in this spicy, nicely homogenized and fresh-tasting dipping sauce. We arrived before 6:00 PM, so house margaritas were 2-for-1. I went with the rocks and salt-rimmed version and found nothing to complain about. *tink*

Our appetizer of Queso Fundido was comprised of melted Monterey Jack cheese with spicy chorizo, served with flour tortillas. This was some good chit. Simple, but delish.

I will no doubt be power-walking for months to come before I burn off the cheesy-and-sour-creamy overload that was the Seafood Chimichanga. The refried beans and Mexican rice were pretty pedestrian, but I was surprised at the size (as well as the quantity) of the shrimp and scallops crammed into this tortilla.

My better half's Carne Asada (he chose the "low-end" version served with skirt steak, although other cuts of beef were available including Kobe) surprised me with its tenderness and flavor. The beef was well marinated, cooked to rare perfection and sliced against the grain for maximum tenderness. This dish was beautifully presented with corn tortillas, pinto beans and grilled veggies (tomato, onion and pepper).

Final word...I didn't really feel like I was getting the "authentic" Mexican food that the menu boasts in my chimi, but the spousal unit (who lived in Mexico City for a couple of years in the '90s) said his carne asada was as respectable a rendition as he's ever had. Considering the final tab was right at $50 (which included two margaritas and two Miller Lites), it's difficult to find fault considering the nice ambiance, good service and overall taste. A fine choice for a casual, relaxing and inexpensive dinner out.

www.miguelscafe.com

Miguel's on Urbanspoon

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