Poblano’s offers authentic Mexican dishes
It happens every time. The ‘chip person’ brings the complimentary chips and salsa. I dig in, forgetting that I don’t have a drink in front of me yet to cool my mouth after the onslaught of jalapeÃ±os in the tomato-based sauce.
The salsa isn’t as spicy as it has been on prior visits to the newly opened Poblano’s Mexican Bar & Grill in the Adams Farm Shopping Center. The waiter is also quick with the soda, so there’s little lag time for the peppers to do their work. I would label the salsa heat ‘mild,’ or, as my husband often calls me when we eat Mexican food, ‘wussy.’
Co-owner David Romero tells me everything is homemade at Poblano’s, even the salsa, so I figure this is the reason for the differences in the sauce temperature. And since the restaurant has only been open a little over two weeks, they’re probably working out the kinks in the system.
Romero says business is getting better and that they’re ‘“having a good response.’” The three times I’ve been there, more bodies fill the booths each time. It seems to be a good mixture of people; construction workers hold down one large table, along with a few couples, and some middle-aged mom types who are lunching before the children get home from school.
The walls in the restaurant have been painted with the warm desert hues of friendly yellow and deep rust. There are framed prints spaced out on the walls that depict traditional Mexican themes ‘— a boy wearing a sombrero, workers in a field, and a scene from harvest time in a sea of yellow grasses. Much of the framed art is by Mexican painter Diego Rivera, but there are works from other artists too.
There is a spacious bar area and an even larger dining room that is covered with stone tiled flooring. The restaurant gives off a cool setting in the dimly lit spaces that I’m sure is a retreat from the memories Romero has from his days in the scorching Mexican heat. He came to the United States in 1989 with a brother. They were from a town in southwestern Mexico; the nearest recognizable city for most Americans would be Acapulco.
Poblano’s ‘— named for a type of pepper ‘— is the first restaurant Romero has owned, but he has worked at other Mexican restaurants in Greensboro. While not a formally trained chef, he says, ‘“All of my family have been cooks.’”
Romero says the menu will change with new items being added when he discovers them. The fish dishes are also unique. They serve fresh seafood. He recommends the crab cake dish served Mexican style and the Tuna a la Parrilla. The tuna is a pan-seared filet served with rice, sliced avocado and a side of mango sauce.
For today’s lunch, I’m eating with publisher Charles Womack ‘— the thing about doing a food story at the paper is someone is always willing to tag along. Womack has chicken wings and a chicken quesadilla. (Yes, he really ordered wings at a Mexican restaurant.) The wings were dipped in a chipotle sauce, which our waiter tells us is mixture of chipotle spices with Poblano’s salsa mixed in.
Romero says the restaurant will soon begin hosting a Monday Night Football special featuring those very wings, beer specials and the game on a projection wall screen.
I order the Sonora burritos, which to a gringo like me is two burritos wrapped tightly around grilled steak with onions, green and yellow peppers and then smothered with that yummy white cheese.
The dishes on the menu are more traditional Mexican dishes and that sets his restaurant apart from others in town, Romero says. He names a menu item ‘taco al pastor’ as an example. He says this is ‘“very popular in Mexico.’” The name of the dish translates with some help from waiter Jose Cabrera to ‘taco of the herdsman.’ Taco al pastor is made with grilled pork, pineapple chunks and cilantro served with tortillas and a side of salsa.
Cabrera says he doesn’t know why it’s named that. But he does provide some further insight that ‘el pastor’ is a herder of goats but when a person is herding cows they are called a ‘cowboy.’
To comment on this story, e-mail Lauren Cartwright at email@example.com.