Restaurant review: Casa Maria

I’m excited about today’s post as it is not only about a place I tried for the first time, but also my first time posting about a restaurant.

I’ll start with the disclaimer that I am by no means a professional restaurant critic. I simply write this blog which focuses on trying new things, mainly my experiences with new people, places, products and projects to share with you guys my victories (like thrift furniture refinishing) and flops (like the community arts market trip). So, given that I like to try new things and I like to eat, I figured a new restaurant report fit right in. 😉

Saturday evening, Jeremy and I were laying around, wiped out from our garage sale when I got a text from a friend. It was an invitation to join her and some folks that were going out to dinner. No cooking or dishes to do? Perfect! Plus we got some great friend time after a long day with strangers. Although our friends are apparently regulars, it was our first time to Casa Maria, an “authentic Mexican restaurant.”

It says so on the menu.

We were greeted with many welcomes and fresh tortilla chips and salsa—my kind of greeting. The menu was surprisingly lengthy and happy hour buy one, get one is all day, every day. ¡Si, por favor! And I hate tequila, but their Margaritas were delicious…and not chincy watered down “specials” either.

I sipped on my first one while everyone decided on their meal.

I didn’t need any time to decide. I always get the same thing when eating Mexican out: enchiladas! I’m fairly picky about what makes a great enchilada meal, too. Always ordering the same thing means, yes, I can tell the difference of high and low quality. I want those calories to be worth it. But apparently, I was the oddball because out of six people, I’m the only one who didn’t order the restaurant’s California Burrito. The friend who invited us warned that although it was extremely yummy, it was also extremely huge. Jeremy ordered it right away.

While we waited for our food, we chatted and I took in Casa Maria’s clean, casual ambiance. I liked that it felt Mexican without being cheesy and was fairly new, so the booths and lighting fixtures were more modern.

The bar area and its ginormous mural.

I was excited when our food was paraded over. Mine stuck out like a sore thumb from the burritos but it was so worth it. My number one complaint for poorly done enchiladas is the meat. If it is fatty or missing, I’m not happy. This meat had great flavor, was peeking out of the ends (so I knew it wasn’t a wimpy tortilla with a teaspoon of beef) and wasn’t sitting in oil so I knew it was lean and cooked properly.

A+

Jeremy was also excited about his meal. You saw how much fit on my plate. The California Burrito was all that fit on everyone else’s plate. Wow. It was even topped with white queso sauce, but Jeremy got his on the side. The picture’s a bit too dark but it’s what I had.

Now that’s a knife burrito.

Unfortunately, I do have one negative to report, and that was our server. Our friends go there all the time and always get the same server, who they rave about. Apparently, he was off that night. I asked for water with no lemon. I got lemon. It took an unusually long time for our food to come out. Our friend ordered a drink and didn’t get it until I was done with my first one even though we ordered at the same time. And I didn’t get my second drink until I asked for it at the same time I was finally able to get his attention to bring me a box for leftovers. Slightly disappointing.

Overall though, a good experience. As far as casual chain restaurants go, I think this is a tasty one. I took half my meal home and even reheated, my food was good and the meat still wasn’t greasy. For two dinners (and, technically, a next-day lunch), one soda and two alcoholic drinks, we came in under $25.

So, that was my experience at Casa Maria’s Mexican Restaurant. Have you tried anywhere new lately?

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