Restaurant Review: Habaneros Grandview
The Habaneros Fresh Mexican Grill team operates three eateries here in Central Ohio. You’ll find a couple Habaneros locations in the Hilliard area, and it’s now joined the Grandview community in the Empire of Large Rectangular Brick Buildings.
Big rectangles aside, it’s what’s inside that counts. That’s always true when it comes to good food. And inside Habaneros Grandview are a lot of televisions. Big, great big, glowing televisions.
Honestly, that’s totally okay, too. The Grandview location aims to be a gathering place for games and other things…so, it’s a hot spot with good eats and a great big dining patio. The overall effect is kinda glitzy, and that works out just fine. A visit to any establishment is more successful when you understand what it’s trying to accomplish.
The Habaneros house menu feels familiar. It’s easy to approach, even for a patron who is new to the Habaneros game. It features lots of classics: quesadillas, tacos, tortas. Even the appetizers are familiar, with options that are largely focused on chips and dips. Although…there is a mozzarella stick option, for those who inexplicably need that sort of thing at a Mexican restaurant. The sticks probably have something to do with the televisions, maybe.
So to start, straight-up chips with a solid salsa is $4.50. It’s serviceable but also standard, so the main interests will be further down in the menu.
The best recommendation, then, is to check out the Street Tacos. They’re manageable masterpieces that can be mixed and matched in a variety of house combinations. Of the ones tried, Chicken Tinga, teaming shreds of flavorful chicken with lettuce, cheese, and sour cream, was excellent.
Same winning experience for the Barbacoa, with soft stewed beef, onions, and cilantro. The Fish taco was less lovable. While its habanero sauce and crunchy red cabbage were good conceptual partners, the fish itself felt like an afterthought ($3.25-3.75 each).
There’s a carnitas option in the taco department too, but the carnitas is torta-worthy. That is, go ahead and make a commitment to a big, house-stuffed sandwich. The masterpiece overflows its bun with soft, tasty pulled pork, velvety avocado, tomato, lettuce, beans, jalapeño, mozzarella, and some mayo, just to tie it together with extra richness (Carnitas Torta, $13).
For the custom crowd, there are bowls and burritos that can can be built to order. You pick a meat (in addition to the options mentioned above, there’s also steak and shrimp offerings), brown or white rice, black or pinto beans, salsa, and then things like sautéed vegetables, lettuce and cheese. The base price is $11. The Barbacoa (soft beef) might add an extra buck, but working alongside sour cream, it makes the whole bowl harmonize so nicely, it’s worth the up-charge.
There is a glitzy drink menu to match the glitzy new digs. The bar does the traditional Margaritas, along with some more adventurous variants on its menu. Case in point, the Jalapeño Margarita ($12), which teams a peppery Cazadores reposado tequila with lime juice and a jalapeño element. It’s a beverage with bite. There’s wine, beer and Mexican Coke as options as well.
Habaneros Grandview is located at 1105 Yard St. and open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. It also recently added a daily breakfast menu available from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and a Sunday to Thursday happy hour running from 3 – 6 p.m.
For more information, visit habanerosgrandview.com.
All photos by Susan Post