Cilantro Mexican Grill & Bar – Romeoville, IL

If there’s two types of restaurants I’m constantly on the lookout for, it’s a good Mexican and good Indian food. Although, I’m always looking for some Chinese food, too. And pizza. And Italian.

Fuck. That’s not going to work.

I’m always looking for a better Mexican restaurant. You can’t go wrong with a place that puts a good enchilada in front of you. You just can’t. Well, you could, if they also unleashed a rabid badger at the same time they delivered your food. But, that’s why you come to sites like mine where I would personally warn you about rabid badgers being released while you eat. I don’t want to cause you harm. I love you. Deeply.

Awkward.

Cilantro Mexican Grill & Bar is right next to Crispy Waffle as I mentioned a few weeks ago. I hope that the area around both of these restaurants builds up soon, if only because one is outstanding, and one was above average. That, and I love seeing independently owned places survive amongst the chain restaurants in smaller suburbs.

Cilantro is an above average experience. They’re a more formal restaurant than your typical Mexican joints. The seating is split into a small area by the windows, giving you a more intimate experience than the other half of the restaurant, which is set up more like a typical restaurant. But, the natural lighting and the large tree that grows above you in the smaller area is something you should ask for if possible.

On our first visit, we ordered Taquitos De Papa as an appetizer. Delivered in a fun, flower-like presentation over lettuce and tomatoes, with a side of sour cream; they were fresh, hot and crunchy. But, the potato filling was blander than we would have liked. They were a nice precursor to our meal, but didn’t wow us.

Our main dishes, enchiladas, were a different story. The Tres Quesos Enchiladas (panela, chihuahua and queso fresco) was served with a tangy salsa verde, and Katie’s Pollo de Mole Enchiladas were smothered in a cinnamony (a newly invented word) sauce. The salsa verde took a little getting used to, because it was powerful tangy; but once I adjusted, I couldn’t eat them fast enough. The three cheeses blended together smoothly, accented nicely by the salsa. Aside from wanting more cinnamon in her mole, Katie also liked her meal.

The big winner though was the side of sweet potato fries we ordered on a lark. Holy sweet crap. Delicious. They were lightly battered, reminding me of Tempura, and cooked just right. I could have made a meal of those alone.

Our second trip was with one of Katie’s coworkers. Her husband and she wanted to meet us for lunch, and we recommended Cilantro. This time around, I tried their veggie burrito “smothered” in cheese. Katie stuck with her enchiladas, and her friends ordered the beef tostadas.

Why did I order the burrito? I don’t know. I never like veggie burritos. I hate grilled vegetables. I think the grill saps the flavor from the veggies, leaving them all tasting like grill, or even worse, some weird, nameless, homogeneous vegetable. The closest I can come is Chipotle’s fajita burrito, and that’s because I ask for enough of their addictive rice to choke a horse, or explode a bird.

The salsa verde took a little getting used to, because it was powerful tangy

The burrito was decent, and large, but I doubt I’d order it again. It wasn’t bad, it’s just my personal bias against the veggies. I’m sure anyone else would think it was excellent. Although, save your dollar and don’t bother with the cheese smotherification (another new word!). They, quite literally, melt a single piece of Mexican cheese over the burrito. It definitely wasn’t smothered. And with all the other flavors of the burrito, good luck tasting it anyways.

I like Cilantro, but I don’t love it. If we’re looking for a nice place to grab some good sit-down Mexican food, we’d definitely go back there. The service was adequate, the atmosphere nice, and the food was good. Plus those sweet potato fries. Goddamn those tasty fries. If you were on the fence about visiting Cilantro, let my love of those fries push you over. You won’t be sorry.

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9 Responses to Cilantro Mexican Grill & Bar – Romeoville, IL

  1. Alex says:

    Im sorry you feel that way Christine, Im guessing the food you grew up with was bland. Once you tasted Cilantro’s food you were a little overwhelmed with the fantastic tangy flavors.

  2. Pingback: A Very Fritz Pastry Q&A « Two Bites in Suburbia

  3. Eileen says:

    I love this place. The fajitas were the best I’ve ever had. And I get them everywhere they are on the menu.

  4. Jeff in Romeocille says:

    I Love Cilantro. The Owner and Chef are both wonderful and will do whatever it takes to make your experience the best. Plus the selection of over 120 Tequilias in the bar is not to be missed. I think I am on number 30 or 31, kinda fuzzy there!

  5. christine says:

    I didn’t like this place at all. I am Hispanic, not Mexican, but grew up eating many authentic Mexican dishes with family friends, and this place just doesn’t have it.

  6. Sally P says:

    I absolutely love this place!! Everything I’ve had here so far has not let me down. It has become my favorite restaurant in the burbs and I recommend it to everyone I know.

  7. TwobitMe says:

    Phil: Damn straight I do!

  8. Sabrina says:

    Oh.My.God. That pic of the Tres Quesos Enchiladas is making me so hungry. Looks tasty!

  9. Phil says:

    For a newly invented word, “cinnamony” already seems to have ~33,000 results when you Google it. You work fast.

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