Thursday, May 1, 2008
Mango Grill, Watertown
In an effort to expand our dining horizons, my friends and I tried out Mango Grill in Watertown this past weekend. I walked by the place a million times last fall, as my internship was nearby, but it always seemed somewhat empty. When we went to eat, though, it was about half full the whole time.
It's a bright and colorful restaurant, with an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs cook (and talk, as we found out). The menu is pretty long, and it consists of a vast array of Central and South American dishes.
We split a couple different appetizers to start - the fried plantains and the empanadas and taquitos. Now, I've never liked plantains before - when I've had them, they were soggy and starchy and not appetizing. These, on the other hand, were fabulous. I could have eaten the whole dish with no problem (and that says a lot for someone who hates bananas). They were perfectly crispy on the outside, but creamy and sweet (and neither starchy nor too banana-y) on the inside. The mixed plate of empanadas and taquitos were tasty, but not as miraculous as the plantains. The shells were nicely crisp, but the filling (which was chicken and only chicken) was a little bland. The dipping sauce and the accompanying pickled cole slaw helped a lot.
For my main, I ordered the shrimp quesadilla. (I've had a bad cold recently, and apparently all I've wanted to eat is cheese, so this was perfect.) It was also nice and crisp, but it wasn't fantastic, especially for $14. Plus, the accompanying guacamole tasted a lot more like what you buy at the supermarket than something that is homemade. Everyone else ordered fajitas, and the steaming pans were heaped with meat and sliced veggies in a tangy, fruity sauce - definitely a better choice than the quesadilla. One friend asked for some cheese to put on her fajitas, and we could hear the chefs talking about it ("Cheese? What does she want cheese for? You don't put cheese on that..."). They sent out a little ramekin of parmesan cheese instead... strange.
Overall, it was tasty (especially the plantains), but I can't see a huge reason to go back.