There is probably no more widely and diversely represented ethnic cuisine in the Treasure Valley than Mexican. In many eateries, it’s as Americanized as Chinese food is. Others seem to have a mix of traditional and non-traditional items. Honestly, when I want Mexican nine times out of ten I’ll hit a taco truck because it’s fast, inexpensive, and about the most authentic you can find in these parts. Of course taco trucks aren’t as much fun to visit with a group, especially in this weather. When my dining companions and I are craving Mexican eats, we usually have to choose between the varied hit and miss sit-down joints available, which is how my mother, my niece, and myself ended up checking out Mi Casa for a late lunch recently.
Mi Casa ended up taking over the spot formerly occupied by my beloved Momo Dumplings. I was a little sad walking into the place, but it’s been renovated enough that I wasn’t constantly reminded of what had come before. With no specific kids menu available, my niece just went with the most basic burrito available. Mom chose the Ground Beef Enchiladas. As tempted as I was by the Molcaje, the various combination plates, and the seafood options, I decided to keep it simple since it was my first time trying the place and ordered the Pork Carnitas Burrito.
But of course, there was chips and salsa first. The chips were decent, the salsa was good (albeit a little on the thin side), and the beans (with cheddar cheese?!) I could take or leave. Yup, not much more to say about that.
Allow me drop the ball here, but I don’t really have anything to say about my niece’s burrito. I can’t even tell you what was in it, or anything about the flavors because I didn’t taste it. I’m sure it was bean or beef. Consider the picture a reference item or something. Moving on…
The enchiladas, well, I should probably say that I am not a fan of ground beef. Unless you’re making a meatloaf, a burger, or meatballs, I’m not terribly interested. And I definitely wouldn’t order it in Mexican food. Mom loves it though, but the enchiladas still fell flat for her due to the sauce. It’s one of those annoying situations where the flavor is familiar but you can’t quite put your finger on it. There was a strong black licorice-y note to Mi Casa’s enchilada sauce, so fennel maybe? Whatever it was, she didn’t like it and I didn’t either. This and a few other incidents recently have convinced me that when I have a strong feeling about something that someone I’m with is about to order, I need to share it. Just in case you ever share a table with me, you’ve been warned.
I lucked out with my meal. For some reason, even though all of us got rice and beans (and cheddar cheese, did I mention the cheddar cheese?) with our meals, I was the only one who got mine in crispy little tortilla bowls. The burrito was also split in half and, along with the other components, was arranged into some of the most interesting plating I’ve seen at a Mexican restaurant. The beans were still meh, but I liked the rice (it’s not hard to impress me with rice, though). The burrito was the real standout item though. The pork was flavorful, tender, and mixed with grilled green bell peppers and onions. The tortilla itself was the flour variety, not something I get overly enthused about unless it’s grilled, but it was covered in Mi Casa’s burrito sauce which, fortunately for me, is much better than their enchilada sauce. They did the usual Americanized thing where they melted Monterrey Jack cheese over the burrito, but then they also garnished it with Mexican Cotija cheese. The end result is something that’s not exactly traditional, but isn’t completely bastardized either. The end result is that it works, at least in my slightly less than humble opinion. All in all, it was a very interesting meal, and I look forward to cautiously exploring more of their menu.
Food; A bit all over the place, but promising enough to return.
Value: A little pricier than some of the competition, but a little better as well.
Atmosphere: A little stripmallish, but not bad.
Final Grade: B-