Opinion

Local Mexican food: always and forever

For those of you who love Mexican food but are not familiar with the city of Huntington, this is the perfect article for you! There are three Mexican grill restaurants that will be mentioned in this article: Mecates, Chava’s, and Los Amigos. At each restaurant, I sampled a quesadilla, queso, and salsa that was provided. I am hoping that by comparing the three restaurants, it may help you consider each place for the next time you crave non-Hub Mexican food.
The interior of Mecates gave off a very mature vibe with soft Spanish music and an almost too-professional wait staff, but it also felt quite homey and comfortable. The menu was filled with a variety of different options, much more so than the other two restaurants. The food here was the most expensive, at $13.25 for a fajita quesadilla and a side of queso. Although the price was quite steep, the quality of the food was incredible. First, the salsa and chips were served. There was no spice in the salsa, but it was still enjoyable, enhanced by the warm chips that came with it. Next, the queso—it was creamy, with no chunks, and went well with the main dish. Again, the chips were a good match with the queso. Finally, the fajita quesadilla. The greasy and crisp quesadilla was overflowing with grilled green peppers, onions, and chicken. The chicken and peppers by themselves were flavorful even without being encased in the quesadilla. There was cheesy sauce that was evenly spread throughout the entrée, enriching the flavor even more. Overall, Mecates was a fine establishment that served carefully-cooked food. The price was considerably high, but the price does reflect the food that they serve.
In contrast to Mecates, Chava’s holds a significantly more relaxed atmosphere, mostly because of its fast food style. It has a drive-thru, but it seems to have closed down. For walking in at noon on a Saturday, it was not very busy. Even if there was a large line, it would not have held for long. It took the employees less than four minutes to prepare a chicken quesadilla. Chava’s prices are reasonable at $8.01 for a chicken quesadilla. We were given a side of salsa and chips here as well. While the chips did not have any significant redeeming quality, the salsa was more unique than the salsas of the other two restaurants. It was spicy, and although it seemed slightly more watered down, the flavor was very present. The chicken quesadilla was unexpectedly delicious despite the fast food connotation. While the sauce in the quesadilla was scrumptious, it mostly coated the middle, leaving the edges a bit bare. However, there was a substantial amount of chicken and cheese within the quesadilla, along with the sides of Spanish rice, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream that could be added. The guacamole by itself was savory as well.
Los Amigos is a nice mix of the other two restaurants. It has the same relaxed and friendly environment as Chava’s, and the food style was similar to Mecates. The largest con of Los Amigos is how far away it is from Huntington. It requires about a 10-minute drive through downtown, while Mecates and Chava’s require about a two-minute drive and are located right across the street from each other only about four minutes away from Huntington. Despite the distance of the journey to Los Amigos, the destination is worth it. The food is delectable. Once again, I ordered the fajita quesadilla with queso for comparison. The total cost was $9.90, a very reasonably-priced lunch meal. The chips and salsa were very similar to Mecates chips and salsa, but the salsa was slightly sweeter. The queso had a little more of a kick to it. As for the fajita quesadilla, it was the most well-rounded. The quesadilla was crisp and yummy. The sauce was like Mecates’, but it was not spread as evenly throughout the dish. The quality of the entrée was overall very impressive for the pricing.
As for my amateur recommendations: Mecates would be a good place for a date, Chava’s is a great place for people who want quick, quality Mexican food and are sick of Taco Bell, and Los Amigos is a wonderful place for a group of friends. Each restaurant has its own personality, all of which are unique. Regardless of your mood or how much money is in your bank account, Mexican food will always be here in Huntington.

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