Mexican food is a long running obsession of mine, so when Lolita, Temazcal, El Centro and Papagayo opened last year I was so overwhelmed with new spots to try that I sadly lost touch with my original Mexican go-to, Casa Romero. Recently I’ve made amends and have been going back to Casa Romero more often because I’ve tried all the new places and most of them just don’t do it for me for a consistent Mexican fix (except for El Centro–which I love).
Casa Romero is old school, it’s been going strong for 37 years–which says something for a space located in a back alley with minimal signage. The hidden location makes you forget you’re in the touristy Back Bay and makes for a classic intimate experience. The menu doesn’t change much, so don’t expect any revelations in modern Mexican cuisine, but they do the classics really well.
Sitting at the bar is great for a quick in-and-out experience, no need for planning or reservations. It’s great because who can plan for a craving of Mexican food? Usually it comes out of nowhere and we, as human beings, are powerless against it. Plus, at the bar you get to hang with the beverage manager, Herman, who is super nice and makes the best margs–that NEVER involve sour mix.
Above we have Sangria, which is made with warm cinnamon flavors, but finished with soda water to lighten it up, the Perfect Margarita, the Mango Margarita, and the Spicy Margarita. Usually I don’t like frozen drinks, but their blender is on steroids, so the frozen drinks are way smoother than others I’ve had, there are no massive chunks of ice that take away from the flavor of the drink.
The appetizers we tried on the last visit were the Chicken Flautas and Chile Relleno, which were both simple and well done. The Chile Relleno is stuffed with cheese only and the outer egg white batter fried layer comes out perfectly crispy. And the cheese is all like “oh hayyy”
I took these pictures of enchiladas back in January 2011 and never used them on JAC. I’m sure the presentation is still very similar, but compared to the photos from my last visit, they have definitely upgraded their plates (which does wonders for food pics).
On the left and the bottom right are the Enchiladas Rellenas de Nopalitos (vegetarian Enchiladas Stuffed with Cactus and topped with a Red Chile Sauce, Marinated Onions and Farmer’s Cheese) which are close to my heart because of the cactus; it’s rare that you see cactus on Boston menus. It tastes like a mix between green peppers and green beans, and makes for a filling meat substitute in an enchilada. On the top right — Enchiladas Poblanas (Enchiladas with Pulled Chicken, Mole Poblano Sauce, Cheese and Mexican Creme Fraiche). This is a much richer option, the mole sauce is dark and chocolaty, to which the creme fraiche offers a nice balance.
Torn between cactus and mole sauce? Of course you are, it happens to me all the time. Until my most recent visit to Casa Romero, I didn’t realize that you can have BOTH in one dish — Medallones de Pollo Rellenos de Nopalitos en Mole Poblano (Chicken Medallions Stuffed with Cactus and Cheese served with a Mole Poblano Sauce, Roasted Chayotes and Plantains). It’s a good size dish that isn’t too heavy on the carbs, perfect to eat before a night out!
Usually when I see ‘Early Bird Special’ I think of a crowded buffet-style restaurant in Central Florida that is packed with seniors pre 5pm, but Casa Romero’s Early Bird Special is a great deal. If you’re out by 7pm, you can enjoy a prix fixe menu for only $21.95 that includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert.
30 Gloucester Street
Boston, MA 02115