San Carlos Grill (Classic Mexican Food)
3.75 out of 5
San Carlos Grill turns out to be a great place, and even though the presentation is nothing fancy they combine authentic Mexican recipes with great ingredients and the results are worth nothing and seeking out.
Unheralded and set into yet another strip mall , you probably would never be drawn to stop in or even notice it. Because it sits next to our dentist we stumbled upon it. There are two locations in Tucson, we go to the one located in the Albertson’s complex at the approximate corner of Speedway and Silverbell and this is by far one of our favorite places to stop in and enjoy an absolutely great breakfast, lunch, or dinner of Latin/Mexican style food on our west side of town. Yes there are a few other “Mexican places” and one of them was actually featured on the Food Network in a Bobby Flay battle, but nether they nor any of the other contenders come even close to matching the thoughtfully sophisticated, yet homey flavors and preparation that you will quickly appreciate San Carlos Grill for.
The complaint that we have about most of the “obligatory baskets” of chips and salsas that plunked down your table in Tucson, and most towns, is that preparation becomes old hat for the kitchen. So from a kitchen mindset of duty as opposed to thoughtfulness, and as with most things done by rote and left unmonitored, the chipsbecome mediocre at best… often I’m the first to let them know the current batch is greasy and stale as I complain and decline any more. But not at San Carlos grill. Like everything prepared in their kitchen, you just know someone who knows how it should taste with high standards and a sense of consistency is back there creating every morning in preparation for you to come in for lunch. So it starts with great chips and fresh salsa and the great food just never stops!
Lets segue into the traditional meatball soup. A great broth, deep rich flavors, uncomplicated, delicious. Every time.
We typically grab the special of the day for lunch and frankly, like everything they do, whether it’s a chicken enchilada smothered in the perfect amount of velvety enchilada sauce with an ideal balance of cheese, or the fact that the Chili Rellenos actually has a little bite of heat, I am thrilled to see my plate coming.
I always have a little guilt after eating Mexican fair. All those beans all that cheese, etc…. Not at San Carlos. Fresh, light, simple preparation makes their side dishes, two kinds of beans and rice, easy to appreciate and while we won’t call it low calorie, I will say they keep it simple and therefore, light.
The service. With about ten tables and room for maybe thirty customers, each time we stop in we are waited on by the same wonderful woman. She could be a mom or family member, she’s sharp, always on top of the tables, has her minions who help her, and is just plain great.
When the flavors are so simple that they make you want to lick the plate after each meal, it’s time to keep going back. We suggest you stop in for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner. It’s often very busy, so you may have to be patient or at the very least, try an off peak time.
We give them 5 for taste and presentation and 3.5 (above average) for everything else. They have a few beers and the ambiance is simple. No sit down bar. Average bill is about $12 per person or less.
It’s a favorite of Tucson Eats Dinner. We have not tried their breakfast yet, it’s next!
Some %$s hole has hijacked their URL so you will need:
1370 North Silverbell Road Suite 180, Tucson, AZ 85745