If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, again.
Cilantro’s in downtown Toledo could use some motivation after a less-than-stellar opening — and closing, and reopening, and closing — and reopening.
Because, let’s be honest, it’s hard to break into the brick and mortar restaurant industry.
Formerly the Taco Gringo’s food truck, which Toledoans lauded as a quick-hunger fix for years, Cilantro’s had a soft opening at 329 N. Huron St. on April 20, 2017. On Cinco de Mayo, the business was up and running and ready to go.
Address: 329 N. Huron St.
Menu: Mexican. Closed Sundays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$
Credit Cards: MC, V, D, AE
Only it wasn’t. Problems obtaining a liquor license, long wait times, and a family emergency were among the reasons that plagued the restaurant and its owner in its nascent stages up until it closed the first time in the middle of August.
During the teetotaler days of Cilantro’s, the menu included chimichangas, tamales, fajitas, burritos, and tacos. Patrons complained that they had to pay for their own chips and salsa. Staffers were left in the dark as to when the liquor license would arrive. They kept saying in a few weeks, which quickly turned into months, then the business shut down. All in all, Cilantro’s was not too pleased with the city.
After allegedly obtaining its liquor license on Oct. 18, another major hiccup with the evasive license stifled the business a few days after the Halloween grand reopening. The restaurant closed its doors again only to reopen on Nov. 15.
But that’s all in the past. Our margarita glasses are half full ($3.50 a glass for the house), so we're not complaining. With a list of other cocktail choices in front of us as well, Cilantro’s is looking to the present and the future. So why can't we?
Inside the restaurant of nine bar seats, 14 tables, and two television sets, I placed an order for the Big As burrito ($9).
Cilantro’s offers this gigantic (my waitress guessed more than 2 pounds) burrito on its new and improved menu. About 60 percent of the burrito is stuffed with queso blanco cheese, pinto beans, and Mexican rice. The rest of the ingredients are cilantro, chicken (or another choice of meat), lettuce, and tomatoes. I’ve been to Mexican restaurants where they'll serve a grande burrito and it will be undercooked. The temperature throughout the Cilantro's burrito is consistent, but it’s so large you probably won't be able to finish it in one sitting.
Next up was the nostalgic tacos gringos ($4). The eatery’s tacos take me back to its food truck days. The tacos are where the restaurant hangs its hat. Drizzled with the toppings found in the Big As burrito, minus the beans and rice, I chose pork and steak. Two, maybe three tortillas, should be enough to satisfy appetites, be they in corn or flour form. For something different, try the nopal cactus tacos ($3), which are delicious. They are good for vegetarians, just tell them to leave off the cheese.
Found at any Mexican restaurant, the triple fajitas ($20) (steak, chicken, and shrimp were the choices of meat) were seared in Mexican spices and served with vegetables and a side of pinto beans and rice. While the quantity is large, the price tag (if you can afford it, go for it) and number of tortillas (three) leave you better off with other options on the menu.
The enchiladas (two for $7, three for $9) were cheesy and full of steak. Cilantro’s, again, adds a side of pinto beans and Mexican rice. It comes with a choice of green verde sauce, mole sauce, or gringo red sauce. I liked the sauce selections for the enchiladas, but felt the gringo red wasn’t as spicy as it could have been. The mole sauce was sweet and probably my favorite. Other restaurants lack these options, and usually just go with the red. So that’s a plus for Cilantro’s.
The chorizo con queso appetizer ($7) sizzled on delivery and complemented the complimentary chips and salsa. A win from the first business excursion, I only wished there was more chorizo inside the bubbly queso blanco cheese.
Cilantro's also offers deals and breakfast suggestions throughout the week and party bookings. Ask for the tomatillo sauces. And check the Facebook page for more details.
Rejoice, Toledoans. Cilantro's seems to be here for good. Or so we hope.
Contact Bill of Fare at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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