Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar

I can't believe I've missed out all these years by not eating at Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar until last night...especially because it's only a few miles away from my house! I first heard about Anchos 3 years ago from a co-worker who kept raving about their food and awesome margaritas. If you go to their website, they have video segments showing you how they take pride in the way they prepare their food. All the ingredients are fresh, from the vegetables to the meat. They never use anything from a can or pre-packaged. Their chips, salsa, and flour tortillas are all made fresh throughout the day.

I've been wanting to eat here but hubby's not too fond of Mexican food...but now I know Anchos is more a Southwestern/Tex-Mex style cuisine so he has no excuse next time. Knowing my hubby is out of town this week, two of my girlfriends suggested an impromptu dinner get-together. So they left their hubbies at home and we met at Anchos. We were not disappointed!

We arrived about 6:45pm and the dining room was pretty full but we got a table right away. I do hear it gets pretty packed on the weekends so expect some wait time. The restaurant is one large dining room with Spanish/Mariachi music blasting. It's a great place for families or to hang out with your buddies...I wouldn't recommend coming here for a quiet romantic dinner though.

Our server Emili was very pleasant, friendly and upbeat - you can tell she loves working there. She immediately placed homemade chips and salsa at the table. The chips were warm and crunchy. And the salsa was so fresh and flavorful -- the tomatoes, onions, and peppers are roasted on the mesquite grill before they're blended with other ingredients.

Since I've heard great reviews about their margaritas, we decided to try the strawberry and mango margaritas -- we ordered them virgin since one of my girlfriends has a bun the the oven and we don't want her to feel left out. They came in a beer mug and topped with whipped cream, almost like a milkshake. Both were good but my girlfriends liked the mango better because it's less sweet than the strawberry.

Another great thing about Anchos is that you get fresh flour tortillas for free. There's a tortilla machine in the middle of the dining room (picture above). The server would drop flour doughs into a funnel where they get pressed into flat 6" round tortillas then move through a fire oven to cook. The server then take the hot tortillas straight to the table with butter packets on the side. They're a bit thick like pita bread but soft and doughy. Rub some butter on it then take a bite - I'm not kidding...they're the best tortillas I've ever had! They're so good that we asked for seconds (even though there were still a couple left) so we can take some to-go.

For dinner we decided to share to leave room for dessert. The first entree we ordered was Steak Tacos "Al Carbon" (3 fresh flour tortillas filled with mesquite grilled steak) served with rice and beans. The steak was tender and juicy - you can ask to have the steak cooked to your liking. The portion is pretty generous so you can divide the steak and make 2-3 extra tacos.

The second entree we ordered was Camarones Alambres (Jumbo Shrimps, bacon wrapped, and mesquite grilled) served with butter dipping, guacamole, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and onions, rice and beans. I never knew shrimp and bacon make a wonderful combination. This dish was absolutely delicious!

For dessert we went with the classic Flan, one of my favorites. I prefer smooth and silky flan and the texture of this flan was a bit too firm for me...but delicious nevertheless.

The best surprise of the night was when we found out Anchos is celebrating their 20th year in business. So each day, from Nov. 2-8, there are different specials. Last night was "Celebrate 20 years with 20%"...meaning, we got 20% off from our total bill. Awesome!! :) We went home stuffed and happy. We'll be back again for sure...with hubbies in tow!

Anchos Southwest Grill & Bar
10773 Hole Ave.
Riverside, CA 92505
(951) 352-0240

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