- 8801 University Ave., Suite 29, Clive, IA, 50325
- Overall User Rating:
- (6 ratings)
- 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
- Official Web Site:
Preliminary visit; not yet rated.
I’ve always liked Monterrey Mexican Restaurant, the standby in Clive. Certainly, I’ve never quite swooned over the food, but I have generally enjoyed it in all its meaty, cheesy, savory, salty and filling glory. Besides, I usually leave feeling I’d spent not a lot of money for a pretty good time, and tickled at being addressed as “amiga” by the always-amiable staff.
A recent visit to the new Monter-rey spinoff out by Jordan Creek was similar in many ways to visits to the original, with one exception: I actually did swoon over my meal.
Ambiance: Under the edgy unfinished-rafter ceilings — so typical of new suburban restaurants — the
décor brings warm, south-of-the-border touches, such as rich, golden walls, terra-cotta trim and wood-carved booths. The result is both postmodern and peasanty — in a pleasantly unpredictable way.
Menu: Find good, hearty versions of Mexican favorites — tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, chiles rellenos and tamales — in just about any combination. There’s also a handful of classic Mexican entrees such as grilled skirt steak (carne asada) and chile verde (pork braised with green chiles and tomatillos).
To start: The margaritas underwhelmed. Tasting like something made from an ’80s freeze-dried daiquiri mix, they were all but bereft of the fascinating swirl of tequila flavor that makes a margarita an enduring classic and a daiquiri a has-been.
The chips, however, were warm and crisp, and the salsa, though somewhat standard, arrived flecked with lots of fresh onions and cilantro.
First impressions: Oozing with that wonderfully melty Chihuahua cheese, the chile relleno packed a wallop of flavor, thanks to a spicier-than-usual poblano pepper. The somewhat-basic beef enchilada satisfied in its meaty, savory way.
Best of show and well beyond merely good and filling, however, was Pollo Loco; tender grilled marinated chicken breast arrived smothered in a fondue-like Chihuahua cheese sauce and topped with a windfall of onions — some slithery and caramelized, others still lightly crunchy. Fresh guacamole, sour cream and a bright pico de gallo, along with rice and beans, rounded out the colorful plate for a steal of a dish at $9.75.
That, and a Negro Modelo beer, is what I’ll be having on my next visit, which will be soon.
Bottom line: A great place for a $30-for-two dinner.