Monday, November 28, 2011

Los Jarritos – Moline, IL

When I go back to my hometown to visit my family, I try to get people together in one place so I don’t have to run all over and see people all over town. I can see them all in one spot. I got a recommendation from my friend Rafael to go to this new Mexican restaurant in Moline called Los Jarritos. I called them ahead of time and warned them that approximately 25 people had RSVP’d and to make sure they could fit that many. Thankfully, they could.
It’s a very non-descript exterior, but it’s easy to find, since it appears to be one of the only things open on the block. There’s a small sign out front indicating the name of the place and also that it’s now open, so I knew we had found it. Inside, the walls are painted bright colors, the tablecloths are brightly colored and everything looks new and shiny. I found my group of people and grabbed a spot for D.Rough and I to sit.
I went through the menu to find something eat. They had much more than most Mexican places I’ve been to. Delicious sounding dishes – some traditional and some a little out of the box. They have tacos, burritos, and tostadas, but also Tortas (sandwiches) soups, and regional entrees. Even though I had a couple of dishes in mind when I got here, I changed my mind approximately 30 times while looking at the menu. I finally decided on Albondigas, which are meatballs in a sauce with a helping of rice, and served with your choice of corn or flour tortillas. I also ordered a cheese crisp, since this is something our area is known for.

We tried to order margaritas, but the restaurant’s liquor license hadn’t gone through yet, so we were apologetically told they didn’t have anything. They mentioned you could bring in your own if you wanted to. So a couple of guys immediately got up and walked a block or two to Bent River Brewery to get growlers of microbrew for themselves. Excellent idea until this place is allowed to serve drinks.

There are chips and salsa out on the table, and Los Jarritos gave a good showing of flavor and spice level for the meal starter. Not too spicy, but lots of flavor. I was a fan so far.
The cheese crisp arrived and D.Rough stole my first bite. I was distracted by a conversation and she wanted to check it out. She liked it a lot more than some others we’ve had in the Quad Cities. Once I got my first few bites, I agreed. It wasn’t as greasy and the homemade shells really made the difference. Great tasting and very simple dish. It’s melted cheese on a fried flour tortilla.
The Albondigas came out shortly after and I was surprised to see only two meatballs on the plate. In fact, D.Rough made a comment about it looking like they forgot the spaghetti on my plate. The sausage balls were sitting in a shallow pool of some red sauce that smelled delicious. I cut up the meatballs into smaller chunks and began building my tortilla with the rice, sauce, and meat. It was fantastic. The meat had tons of flavor and the sauce had already begun to sink into the balls. With the extra sauce on the tortilla, it was perfectly tasty and made me want more. I had ordered corn tortillas, and you could definitely taste the corn flavor, even among all the other strong flavors of the meat and sauce. I’ve had Albondigas soup before at another restaurant, so I’m definitely familiar with the Mexican meatballs, but this dish blew the soup out of the water – it was a fantastic dish and I’d highly recommend it. I didn’t think two meatballs would be enough, but they are large enough to be plenty of food to make three or four normal sized tortilla wraps without skimping.

The servers were absolutely fantastic with our group. I know groups this large can be quite unwieldy, especially for a brand new restaurant, but they handled us like a champ and were very personable and friendly with us. I thanked them afterwards for being so gracious and courteous. I also told them I would recommend them to as many people as possible – so that’s what I’m doing. Please go here – it’s very worth it.

Top 5 things about Los Jarritos
1. Albondigas
2. Cheese crisp
3. Wonderful staff
4. They have Dew!
5. Very comprehensive menu of delicious-sounding food

Bottom 5 things
1. No alcohol license as of Thanksgiving – but that will change (BYOB isn’t a bad idea, however)
2. Lots of spelling errors on the menu – they’re new so they’ll work the bugs out, I’m sure.
3. It isn’t well lit on the outside, so it almost doesn’t look open, but it IS
4. Nothing else bad to report
5.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Los-Jarritos-Comida-Mexicana

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