Friday, September 24, 2010

Santi’s Restaurante Mexicano, Charleston, SC

Oooh, Mexico It sounds so simple I just got to go

Santi's Restaurant
With a strong referral from my hairdresser, Jamie at Salon Bellezza, and Jimmy Buffets lyrics, we decided to try Santi’s Restaurante Mexicano. Jamie moved here from out west and is used to having great Mexican food. We were hungry anyway so we decided to give it a go.

Near the entrance to the Ravenel Bridge (which thankfully, I walked this morning at 6:30 am), but far from the beaten path on Meeting Street lies a little slice of burrito, taco, enchilada – you name it, heaven.

We arrived at noon to find a packed parking lot except for the one handicapped spot in the picture. Parking is free by the way. As you walk up to the restaurant, it’s not much to look at. There are few signs in the window and it is flanked by an outdoor patio to your left.

Inside Santi's
Upon entering the energy in the restaurant is contagious. Several waiters scurried about, and it was a little confusing to figure out how we were to be seated. We decided to sit at the bar as it was fairly empty. The restaurant is nothing to look at, a tad kitschy and designed like many other taquerias.

The bar is a shotgun counter with the kitchen line directly behind it. For awhile I wasn’t sure if they even served liquor, but then I saw a few beer taps and a margarita went by. There is no real mention of alcohol in their menu, which I think they can play up a lot more. But let’s skip the beverages and move directly to the food, which was well worth the treasure hunt to find the place.

Line Cook(s)
Warm chips and salsa were quickly delivered. This was done by the dishwasher, who, by the way, was washing dishes right in front of us. The salsa is delivered in a small carafe, which is an interesting touch. You have a small pedestal to pour it into to mix hot sauce, if desired, which we did.

The menu is a moderately priced, a two-sided laminated type with about 30 items on it. There is a lot to choose from and most of the items are accompanied by rice and beans – the usual suspects. The waiter took our order on small, paper pad and put the chit on a rail in the kitchen. He rings the check in later from the carbonless paper on his pad, but there is no delay to start to make your lunch. One thing about this place is speed.

The cooking line is about 8’ long and it has 5 line cooks working it. Five stock pots were on the stove with the gas cranked high. An assembly line of plates quickly moved down the line. You feel as if you are in someone’s kitchen as lunch is prepared.

Our food was served in about five minutes. I ordered the “Fro Burrito”, which should have been called the OMG Burrito as it was easily the size of my forearm. My husband ordered the “Chicken Enchiladas” which were piping hot and packed with flavor. I thought he was going to lick his plate. It was just that good.

Chicken Enchiladas
We could have split either dish as the portions are more than generous. I could only finish half of the burrito – even with the 5+ mile walk this morning!

Not since I lived in Texas have I had such authentic Mexican food. Remember that it is somewhat out of the way, but well worth the trip.

We gave Santi's 4 out of 5 Plates.

Santi's Restaurante Mexicano on Urbanspoon


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