Monday, November 8, 2010

Tex-Mex Challenge: Cactus Cantina v Rio Grande

I had a craving for Tex-Mex.  After a spree of Korean restaurants, it was time for a change.  So we headed up to the National Cathedral area to Cactus Cantina. I'm a sucker for the salsa and thin tortilla chips.  Unfortunately our server was not the most efficient or pleasant.
Queso and guacamole duo ($6.95).  The chips were a little too thin to dip effectively into the molten cheese.  We should have stuck to just the salsa.
 Burrito Gordo with shredded chicken.  ($9.45)  Ok, but not remarkable.  Should have ordered the fish tacos.
Fajitas al carbon with chicken and steak. ($12.75) The boyfriend loved the charred jalapeno and butter dipping sauce.  The only downside was the plate didn't come out steaming.
Side of rice and beans.
The next night I met the girls at Rio Grande in Ballston.  Rio has a similar menu, but it's location in Ballston always has a longer wait for a table than Cactus Cantina. 
 Hornitas margarita with Grand Marnier ($11)
 Chicken flautas ($11.95)
 Chicken fajitas ($16.95)
Shrimp quesadilla ($13.95). The shrimp were a little too oily.  Wish they would have a spinach quesadilla on the menu as a regular item and not a special.
In Cactus Cantina v Rio Grande, the restaurants have very similar menus, but Cactus has a few more non-meat items like spinach quesadillas, spinach enchilladas and seafood enchilladas, and prices are a little lower.  Service was much better at Rio Grande from the initial greeting onwards.  Rio makes a better margarita, but the wait for a table can be much longer.  In the end, I prefer Cactus Cantina, with a different server.

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