To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I thought my final piece this semester would feature a little taste of Mexican cuisine.
There are many Mexican restaurants I have visited; some are better than others; some are more authentic than others.
The list is a long one: There are LaMex, Senior Tequilas, and chain restaurants like Friaco’s and Pepe’s. I’ve had them all, plus some in between.
However, none of them are as good as Rito’s.
Rito’s, located at 3450 Montgomery Rd., Aurora, is far and away the best Mexican restaurant I’ve been to. From the service to the food, Rito’s is definitely notches the top mark.
There is a decent size appetizer menu with the usual line up of favorites, but there are a couple unique items too.
Their "Mexican potato skins" substitute the basic bacon and cheese with a healthy stuffing of refried beans, layered with Chihuahua cheese and topped with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
Another rarity is their sincronizada, a flour tortilla stuffed with Chihuahua cheese, ham and mayo.
Feel the need to be healthy? They have a taco salad, a shrimp salad, chef salad and a grilled chicken salad for healthier options.
The menu itself is stuffed with the different chicken pollos, steak Carne Asada and other various combinations as well.
These combos offer an array of regional specialties from their namesake: the Acapulco, Cancun, Maya and Azteca styles. And of course, there is Rito’s combination too.
And what menu would be complete without a variety of fajitas as well. There are also the traditional dishes from tacos and burritos to enchiladas and flautas to chimichangas and tamales.
Let’s face the facts though. I’m not superman. I could not try everything! I was fortunate enough though to enjoy some steak tacos and Carne Asada. I also had an appetizer of fresh guacamole, salsa and empanadas.
All I can really say about the Carne Asada is that it practically melted in my mouth. There is no other way to explain the tenderness and juiciness of it. Delicious.
If I were sentenced to the chair, firing squad, guillotine, or just knew my death was impending and could request a last meal, it would be steak tacos. Rito’s steak tacos.
The salsa comes in both red and green. The green has some decent flavor, while the red leaves your pallet with a nice a hint of fire dancing.
The guacamole is super fresh. And by super fresh, I mean the guy comes to your table with a cart filled with avocados, onion, tomato, cilantro, salt and pepper and limes.
The guacamole is specially catered to your preferences on the spot, and frankly, if this isn’t fresh, I don’t know what is.
One fun oddity is their flaming margarita. After the first couple sips, the bartender pours a shot of 151proof rum from a sifter. The drink is swished around, set fire to, and then dumped in the margarita. It is pretty cool to watch, but best done at night without the burden of natural light.
Rito himself is a very friendly and welcoming restaurant owner. The owner for seven years now, he plans on opening a new location in Buffalo Grove this May.
He’s an owner that takes pride in his business, from the food and drinks to the service. He makes everything from scratch and people come in for the known margaritas.
"It is great to work for yourself and my pleasure is to please the customers," Rito said.
The regulars are easy to spot: they know what they want and get it quickly with a laugh. In my case, after being there only once, I left already feeling like a regular.