Since it was a weeknight, and P's mom isn't huge on driving too far for a meal, we looked around Lower-Westchester. There are many homemade, real deal Mexican places for an awesome taco or burrito, but they tend to be hole-in-the-wall type places, and as this was a birthday celebration, we wanted a bit more ambiance.
Tequila Sunrise in Larchmont has long been a go to, but it can get quite pricey. We opted to, instead, try out the newly opened Rio Bravo (located where the Globe used to be on Palmer Avenue in Larchmont).
Walking in, we were amazed at how big the restaurant actually is. From outside, you would think it was one smallish room with windows facing the street, but in actuality it goes all the way back to the train station with a lively bar area separating two dining rooms.
We loved the kitchy ambiance; bright colors, wood work and large fixtures abound. Amber light makes everything feel warmer and more cozy.
Once seated we were brought chips and salsa and ordered drinks. The menu has a good variety, but lacked an enchilada mole meal (the chocolate chili sauce, not the blind rodent) that P's mom so loves. She mentioned it to the waiter, and they made it special for her.
All in all, I found that there were both good and bad things about the fledgling Larchmont addition. In hindsight, this is exactly what most of the reviews stated, but I'm glad to have had my own experience.
It was as follows:
--They have both flour and corn tortillas, which I liked because corn tortillas have less carbs.
--They allowed me to substitute rice and beans for broccoli and cheese, with no additional cost. This was a double good thing because the broccoli and cheese was AMAZING!
--Mama P loved their mole sauce and P (a notoriously picky eater) was even a fan!
--I had the Marco Polo tacos (bacon wrapped shrimp) and they were well sized enough that I was good with one (out of the two) and broccoli. Saved the other one for lunch. Score!
--The price was right. We found everything to be reasonably priced and ended up paying less than $25 a person (1 shared app, 3 entrees, 1 extra side, soda, tax and tip)
NOT SO GOOD:
--There was a bunch of wait time between ordering drinks, then ordering food, then getting the food (apps..wait,wait...entrees) and finally getting the bill. We had three different waiters that would check in all the time, so I am assuming the kitchen was swamped (even though most of the patrons were at the bar watching the Ranger game)
--All the food came out lukewarm, which was especially weird because the plates were blazing hot.
--Paul's order was wrong. We did not ask him to fix it, so in fairness we didn't give them a chance to fix the mistake.
--We got an extra side of seasoned fries, which came out with barely a dash of salt. I made mention of this to waiter, just in passing, and he was so good about it. He actually took it off our bill, which surprised me. So that ended up working in their favor.
All in all, I would say that Rio Bravo is decent, but definitely has room for improvement. I do think the front of the house (waitstaff and hostess) were very personable, polite and put in the extra effort.
The back of the house (chefs, etc.) has some difficulties. The flavors of most of the food was good, but some things lacked spice (the fries were under seasoned and the slaw that accompanies every meal was much improved by the addition of salt).
I would have to say that the major stumbling block for this restaurant is that the back of the house and the front of the house do not seem like they are working together as a cohesive team. This is probably just some adjustment issues as the restaurant is newly opened.
Keep this one in mind for a girls night out or a place to watch the big game (The people in the bar looked like they were having a fabulous time!)
Rio Bravo Tacos & Tequila
1879 Palmer Avenue