Blended margaritas at Fajutas Grill Centro.
There are establishments that decide to do a few things well instead of trying to offer something for everyone. The former would be true of Fajitas Grill Centro (530 E. Mason Street), which opened earlier this year after relocating (and slightly rebranding) from Fajitas Grill on the Lower East Side.
Now within eyeshot of my office, I’ve visited Fajitas Grill Centro a handful of times for lunch with co-workers. But I refrained from testing the bar until I took one of my team members out for celebratory drinks for her graduation. Yes, some people buy Dr. Seuss books or luggage,I prefer to give the gifts that keep giving – margaritas.
After work one Tuesday, we took the short walk and were welcomed into the restaurant and bar by Latin music. Other than a couple folks at tables in the dining area and a few men wearing the remnants of business suits at the bar, the place was empty. As it’s been packed during lunch when I’ve visited, I was a bit surprised, especially since their happy hour (3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday) includes $4.00 house margaritas.
We headed to the end of the bar and sat down. A few of the stools had backs, but we were stuck with modern-style versions, sans backs. While they fit in with the modern and colorful décor, they weren’t the most comfortable, especially after a long day at the office. Behind the bar are a few shelves to display bottles of tequila and margarita machines next to the television line the wall.
As soon as I noticed the house blended margarita came in mango, my order was decided. My co-worker opted for one as well.
House margaritas on the rocks, which are made with fresh lime juice, are $7.50 outside of happy hour, and its blended counterpart is $7.00. You can add flavors on the rocks for a quarter more, and blended for an additional fifty cents. In addition to mango, the flavors include strawberry, watermelon, blackberry, orange, vanilla, kiwi and peach. If it was a particularly rough day at the office, a pitcher of margaritas will put you back $25.00.
In addition to their house offerings, Centro offers custom margaritas with a variety of resposados or añejo tequilas for an upcharge. Available reposados tequilas, which rest in oak barrels for at least 60 days, include Jose Cuervo, Hornitos, Milagro, Don Julio and Patrón. Similar offerings are available for añejo tequila aged for at least one year in smaller barrels.
After a few minutes, the waitress was back with our blended mango margaritas. Served in a thick-stemmed margarita glass, the consistency was perfect – not too thin, and not too thick – but it was very difficult to taste the mango flavoring. In my book, Rudy’s off of Water Street still holds the trophy for best mango margaritas.
Right as the gentlemen further down from the bar left, the manager came by and turned on the colorful flashing lights installed on the ceiling by the bar. As my co-worker and I were the only two left in the bar area, it was a little strange, but gave us something to chuckle about.
Fans of mojitos should be enticed by Centro's flavored options including strawberry, pineapple, blackberry, raspberry and blueberry.
Centro offers a handful of cocktails: sex on the beach, bloody mary, Long Island ice tea, pina colada, Paloma and Tokyo tea – with modest prices from $7.50 to $9.00. They also offer a few varieties of sangria and michelada (Mexican beer cocktails) ranging from $6.00 to $8.50.
If you’re looking for beer on tap or an extensive wine list, Centro shouldn’t be your first choice. For $4.25 Centro offers bottled Mexican beer staples Corona, Corona Light, Dos XX Amber, Dos XX Lager, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, Sol and Tecate. Pinot grigio, malbec and chardonnay are available for $8.50 or less.
With the recent addition of a few tables outside on the sidewalk, and my newly acquired obsession with Sangria, I’ll be back soon.
Visit Fajitas Grill Centro on Facebook to learn more.