Report Card: Cantina Laredo

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Cantina Laredo on Urbanspoon
www.cantinalaredo.com

 

Overall Grade  A-

 

The Breakdown:  

Atmosphere: Grade B+:  Walking up to Cantina Laredo, one might think they are about to enter an upscale boutique store instead of a Mexican restaurant.  Inside, the décor might lead you to believe you’re visiting that friend you can’t stand with the super nice, uber modern house.  Cantina Laredo ditches the usual ceramic tile, brightly painted Aztec-style décor in favor of glass, chrome, and dark wood.  This is one the nicest places to eat from a décor standpoint.  The only drawback is the noise level can get pretty high, so Cantina Laredo is not the place you’d want to take someone on a first date.  That is, unless you have no interest in talking to your date.  Which means it might be an ideal site for the married couple (just kidding).

High marks:  Stylish and modern, not your typical Mexican eatery

Low marks:  Noise level can be a little high

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Service:  Grade A-:   We have visited Cantina Laredo quite a few times, and the service is consistently very, very good.  The servers are excellent in making sure that you have everything you need.  Chips and salsa are consistently refilled, as is the water or whatever else you might elect to drink.  There was minimal wait for our food, and Justin (our server) made sure we had everything we needed.  To get an A or A+ in this category, we need to see excellent service and a little bit of entertainment.  We got the excellent service, so well done, Cantina Laredo.

High marks:  Excellent service, minimal wait, good attention to detail

Low marks:  Nothing extraordinary about service

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Food/Spirits:  Grade A-:   If you happened to read our Honor Roll, then you know that we place a premium value on the quality of margaritas for Mexican restaurants.  The margaritas at Cantina Laredo are one of the reasons Cantina Laredo won our top honors for a Mexican restaurant.  Katina elected for the La Bandera and I tried the Perfect Patron.  Honestly, I was just a touch disappointed in the Perfect Patron because I thought it lacked character – it tasted pretty much like a strong, traditional margarita.  Katina was very pleased with her La Bandera.  It was smooth and fruity.  However, even a slightly disappointing margarita at Cantina Laredo is better than most other margaritas.  I will say this again – if you plan on drinking more than one, bring cab fare or check into the Hilton across the street.  Okay, now on to chips and salsa.   There’s little variety in the types of chips you traditionally get in Mexican restaurants, so there’s not much to report.  The salsa, however, is another reason we LOVE Cantina Laredo.  There are two salsas provided, and both are good.  The one that is served warm with the smoky flavor will make you redefine reality.  I would eat broccoli if it was dipped in this salsa (and I despise broccoli).  Katina had the Tacos Cascabel for her entrée, and I tried the Tacos al Carbon.  Both dishes can be summed up with one word – excellent.  And a nice bonus: the next day when I reheated the leftovers, they tasted just as good as they did the previous night.  So now you’re asking, why not an A or A+?  Real simple: the White Honey Sangria.  I ordered this because Katina wanted to try it but didn’t want to appear like a lush, so I risked the dirty looks and took the plunge.  While it was good, the sangria was not on par with the rest of the food and drinks, so we dropped the score just a bit.

High marks:  Excellent margaritas, salsa, and food

Low marks:  Sangria not up to standards of rest of menu

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Value:  Grade B:  Here’s where we talk about portion size and cost.  The portion size at Cantina Laredo borders on the generous side but doesn’t quite get there.  Who cares?  By the time your main course arrives, you’ve stuffed yourself on yummy chips and salsa, so you probably won’t notice.  The price is not cheap, but it is certainly not out of line for the quality of food.

High marks:  Not as expensive as you’d initially think

Low marks:  Portion size is almost perfect, but not quite (trust us, you won’t notice)

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