Dinner: Little Mexican sparkler

Submitted 2 years ago
Created by
Alix Klingenstein

Centerra's Secret

How many times have I shopped at Centerra's Co-Op in Lebanon, NH?  Countless.  How many times, when leaving the parking lot, do I check for traffic left and right and catch the MargaritaS sign over there?  Countless.  Well finally last week, we ventured over on a Wednesday night for dinner.  From pulling open the front door to leaving again, I felt like I had spent an hour and a bit back in Tulúm, a Mexican vacation favourite from years back before the crowds converged.

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I could say with almost near certainty that a basic meal outside Mexico is not quite as satisfying as 'the real thing.'  When you order in Mexico, you often receive a basket of fresh, homemade tortilla chips and some lovely salsa, the bread & butter equivalent that often acts as harbinger of what's to follow.  After we ordered at MargaritaS, sure enough, a basket was plunked down politely by our sweet waiter along with the requisite salsa.  I half-heartedly took one chip and was delighted to bite into a warm, fresh and authentic little square; the neighboring salsa was also delightful.  Hm, things just got interesting here.

I chose two starters: Hector's Quesadillas which were just the cheese (chicken may be added) accompanied by guacamole and sour cream.  Of course I always ask for extra of both; there is just something so amazing about guacamole, sour cream and melted greasy cheesy puffs.  My second option was the Mayan Shrimp.  These are lightly fried and tossed with chipotle Aioli, roasted corn salsa and small hunks of perfectly ripe avocado.  The whole presentation looked exactly like the photo too.  Now, photos on menus can be a warning sign for me, but in this case, I have nothing to expatiate.  There was also a 'Street Tacos' choice that made a finalization difficult.  Imagine pork carnitas with fresh salsa or braised beef with onion and cilantro or even grilled chicken slices with the fresh salsa - all served with the spicy biting salsa for those who love a good mouth burning juncture.  

An Ahi Tuna salad with baby spinach, avocado, pickled onions and orange slaw graces the Salads' section among five other selections.  There are fajitas and then juicy meats in the Grill Section, notably a Make-Your-Own-Sandwich with tempting additions.  For vegetarians, there are four different dishes and what stood out between the enchilada, burrito and zarape were the black bean enchiladas with cheese, pineapple salsa, chipotle sour cream and Mexican rice.  The Taco section's offerings would be impossible to pick at as every combination is drool-worthy, especially the fish sharing space with crispy red cabbage, more chipotle Aioli, cilantro, avocado, coconut, even a little beer batter going on.

The ambiance is warm composed of plenty of bright colours both on the walls and ceramic garden pots featuring all those richly glazed containers with plants.  Mexican pottery exudes happiness and fun and this highlights the laid-back theme.  Tuesday nights are all-you-can-eat-taco nights and Thursdays might tempt us women with a 40% discount in the lounge area, muy generoso indeed.  The lounge is just as clean and cozy as the main restaurant.  Its tables are the high tops besides seating at the bar.  I did not discuss drinks but the possibilities look endless with Mango Tangos, Piñaritas, Margaritas, sangrias and Martinis.

MargaritaS is open for lunch and dinner.  They are open every day.  We did not have dessert last week; however, the cinnamon coated churros with ice ream and honey might have been just what the doctor didn't order.

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