Almost a palindrome, but not quite. For those not interested in driving all the way out Hull Street for La Milpa tacos or braving the crowds of people Tweeting in line @natestacotruck, now you’ve got a quick option for authentic Mexican flavors in the West End near Regency Mall. Just a month or so old, Habanero’s is cranking out zesty flavors, providing chili pepper goodness to the people. Food lovers can find the little place by following their usual route to Mediterranean Bakery and Deli on Quioccasin Rd (a legendary food destination, in my book) and simply looking across the street at the vinyl sign over the unassuming storefront with neon “taqueria” in the window.
The menu offers all of the taco meats you’d find in Mexcio City (including carnitas, lengua/tongue, al pastor, chicken, barbacoa, and carne asada). Similar proteins fill up the burritos, the torta (Mexican sub-roll sandwiches), the sopas (like a tostada, only with handmade tortillas and macho meat instead of bean shmear), and … The speciality of the house, it seems, is meat. Grilled, seared, seasoned, spiced, marinated, any which way you can imagine. Even fajita’d. Luckily for the rest of us, they’ve got a vegetarian burrito (think Cafe Ole size with sweet roasted peppers and extra seasoning). Sides of fried plantains, guacamole, chips, and green and red salsa, ensure that you leave overstuffed and overstimulated.
To see Habenero’s from the outside, you might wonder if there’s really a restaurant there (or a there there). Yeah, it’s tiny. There are a couple stools for waiting and a couple tall table tops for wolfing down your grub, if that’s what the situation calls for. And there’s a lone table and chairs under an umbrella out front. But, the gist is, it’s a “to go” joint. To cool off your slightly inflamed mouth, fresh made horchata (sweet cinnimony rice milk). If you’re getting scared of the heat implied by the name Habanero’s, chill out. The lime and cilantro, supple tortillas, and fresh tomatillo salsa balances whatever hint of fruity peppers that might catch you by surprise (unless you ask for extra spicy, like I did).
For those not quite ready for la comida tipica (authenitic Mexican food), they make a signature burger (tell me how that is, won’t you?), and alas de pollo (chicken wings), and a taco salad, and a quesadilla. Obviously a versatle little kitchen. But, like any good taqueria, you really don’t need to look beyond the $2 tacos to discover the heart and soul of the grill. Stay tuned for their updated bilingual menu (the staff is bilingual too, but humored me while I practiced my spanish). And, if you’re a web geek. Offer to set them up with a website. All I’ve got to link to here is a Google map. And check out those hours. These guys are waiting for your arrival.
9101-A Quioccasin Road
804-750-2020 or 804-839-3347
Open 7days/wk, 11am-9pm
Bonus: How the heck does “al pastor” taste so good? Did you know it was an unexpected fusion food in Mexico? Middle Eastern shawarma combined with grilled pork, pineapple and orange add sweetness, plus a couple kinds of peppers, marinated for a good long while. Give it a try right here.