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The Dish: Olé for Mexicali Grill

Planted in a prime location at the middle of Mercado Center, Mexicali Grill is hard to miss. The red circular building is festive and inviting. It beckons passers-by to come and see what fun lies inside.

The food is as equally appealing as the initial attraction. The list of seafood entrées is unique. They offer more than the usual Fish Tacos. The plate of Enchiladas de Mariscos is filled with crab and rock shrimp and is delightful. The enchilada duo is covered in a fresh roasted tomatillo sauce and topped with sour cream, avocado and cheese. The Salmon De Morelia is marinated with a fresh Serrano chili rub and grilled to perfection. The accompanying Calabacitas is a side of warm vegetables, mixed in a delicious white cheese sauce. It is pleasantly surprising. I decided to eat my veggies first to ensure that not one of them would go to waste.

The El Rey Combination Plate is fantastic. The meats in the Beef Taco, Pork Tamale and Chicken Enchilada are plenteous, tender and juicy. All three are reminiscent of fresh, homemade Mexican fare. And of course, no entrée would be complete without a plate-brimming amount of scrumptious rice and beans with just the right touch of spice.

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I always say you can tell an authentic Mexican restaurant by their amazing salsa and guacamole. Mexicali is no different. Their trademark red, green and yellow chips and tantalizing salsa disappear fast. The helpful waiters return often to re-fill them as often as needed throughout dinner. The chunky guacamole is fresh and generous. It has just the right amount of flavorful spices and is chock full of fresh diced tomatoes and onions. Don’t be surprised if your bowl looks as if it has been cleaned when you are finished. You will not want to miss one tiny morsel. Yes, it is that good.

The Appetizer Sampler is an eye-catching combination of Nachos, Taquitos, slices of Quesadilla and a mini Chimichanga. Salsa cruda, sour cream and guacamole are also included in the middle of the plate, lying on a bed of lettuce leaves. There is plenty to share.

The décor is festive and the music is fun. The atmosphere beckons all who enter to enjoy the food and let the fiesta begin. Mercado Center is easily spotted off of Highway 101 and is close in proximity to Great America Parkway. Parking is easy to secure as the center is large and offers ample spaces. Mexicali offers catering service and has a colorful website at mexicaligrill.com. Reservations are optional and can be made by calling (408) 588-9865. Follow the Grill on facebook and twitter for updates and coming events.

Mexicali Grill
(408) 588-9865
3149 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Entrées range from $9.75 – $19.50

Note: All reviews are conducted anonymously and are typically based on one visit. The Santa Clara Weekly pays for all meals. For comments, questions or suggestions, email April Jones at apriljanetjones@yahoo.com

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