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Review: Plaza offers authentic taste of Mexico

Katie Higgins / Lantern photographer

I went into The Plaza Mexican Grill hoping for some homemade, authentic Mexican food, and I found it.

The appearance of the ratty brick building, located on the corner of Chittenden Avenue and High Street , isn’t exactly welcoming, and the size of the restaurant appears cramped and small from the outside. But on the inside, it’s not.

I never ate at New York Pizza Department, the restaurant previously in the building (I’m from New York, and in my opinion, all Ohio pizza is terrible), so when I walked through the doors, I did not expect a large restaurant with spacious booths and tables and a bar to the left-hand side.

Going through the assembly line, it felt a lot like Chipotle, only with more choices. It had the basic chicken, steak and carnitas, but also other options, such as choripollo.

For my first time eating here, I decided to just be lame. I’ll have the $6.99 chicken burrito please.

Normally (and when I say normally, I mean at Chipotle once every two months), I like my burrito plain, with meat, beans, rice and cheese. Instead, I chose to mix it up, for the sake of the review, that is. I piled on the beans, meat and cheese. The rice, surprisingly different, was real Mexican rice. There were numerous choices of salsa, and more than one choice of corn and toppings. Once again, I kept it simple: just corn and black beans, with medium salsa, and I threw on some lettuce and onions.

My roommate Kayla, who I dragged to the restaurant so I would be comfortable ordering three different meals, ordered the chicken quesadilla and the chicken chimichanga. These side dishes are made to order, and she was told they would be brought to our table.

I dug right in, not waiting a minute to eat. The burrito was exactly what I was expecting, and by no means was this a bad thing.

The chicken was warm and mixed with the cold cheese, crunchy lettuce and spicy salsa. My burrito tasted authentic, and somewhat reminded me of the all-too-expensive Mexican restaurant I chose to eat at for every birthday dinner from age 6 through 15.

Halfway through my burrito, Kayla’s food was brought to the table.

To say the quesadilla and chimichanga, which were $2.99 each, were big is an understatement. The quesadilla would have easily filled me up, and the chimichanga the same. I finished my burrito and decided to try both.

The quesadilla was crunchy and the cheese melted, but it was not too hot. The tortillas were flavored with what I can only assume was butter, and the creamy taste went perfectly with the spices on the chicken.

At this point I knew I would be going back to eat the burrito and quesadilla again.

Then came time to try the chimichanga. These final bites were by far my favorite part of the meal.

All of the chimichangas I have ever eaten are served with a reddish-pink pico de gallo sauce. The Plaza chimichanga is served with a melted and warm cheese sauce, complementary to the cheese on the inside of the tortilla.

The chicken was bite-size and easy to cut, which is definitely a plus since the plastic knife would have easily snapped in two with the slightest pressure.

Beside the ends of the chimichanga, the tortilla wasn’t as crunchy as it could have been, but this wasn’t necessarily bad, just different.

Kayla and I left completely stuffed and genuinely happy to find a real Mexican restaurant where we could grab a full meal for less than $10.

Grade: A

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