Saturday, August 9, 2014

Margaritas and Mexican Sampler at El Potro in Downtown Lowell

It was a beautiful Friday and the Mo and I headed towards Downtown Lowell for an evening stroll. Our intent was to grab dinner at one of the food trucks at the Lowell Wine and Food Festival  but the options were limited to only about 4 trucks serving meals.  Sam's truck, Spiceventure was present and was the most popular truck with the longest line.

We nixed our plans and walked by different restaurants in the area with outdoor patio seating. Although the atmosphere was lively, we didn't really want to pay the premium prices for food and drinks at Cobblestones  or Fuse Bisto.

We heard about El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill from our friend Bryan, who lives in the downtown area. He mentioned that they had fish tacos and that the food was reasonably priced and good. Although we're not die hard fans of Mexican cuisine, we decided to give it a try!

The restaurant was happening on a Friday night.  All the patio seats were taken and the indoor seating was nearly full.  After a short wait, we were able to grab a table outside.

Complimentary hot tortilla chips and homemade salsa was brought to our table.  The diced jalapenos in the salsa gave it a nice kick.

The Mo and I started with a glass of Pino Grigio and tequila on the rocks before we ordered.  The weather was perfect for people watching.  After all it was a busy night in Downtown Lowell with the Music Concert Series, the Midsummer Night Dream Food and Wine Festival and the Lowell Friday Farmer's Market at the JFK Plaza.  We actually saw a popular writer for the Lowell Sun walk by with his toddler daughter.  The Mo follows him on Twitter.

It was time for another drink and we switched it up a bit. You can't really go to a Mexican restaurant and not get the margarita.  I'm not a huge fan of sour mix so I got the specialty margarita with Patron, Grand Marnier and splash of OJ, light on the sour mix.  It was probably the 2nd best margarita that I've had (2nd to the watermelon habanero one at Masa's Woburn).

The Mo got a frozen mango margarita and it was also very tasty.

Inside the restaurant there was a live 6 person mariachi band.  We could also hear the the music faintly from outside.  What a great lively atmosphere!

We decided to order an app to share before dinner. The Picada Mixta dish looked intriguing which the description reading, "Sliced pupusas, sliced grileld steak, chicken wings, french fries, fried pork rinds, served with freshly cut cheese and shrimp."  

There was a choice between the large and small and we went with the earlier since there was only two of us.  I'm sure glad we did because when the dish came out, all eyes were on us.  Other diners were fascinated by our dish and wished they had ordered it.  People kept asking us what that was and how amazing it looked.

Small Picada Mixta Appetizer $ 18.00
I had no idea what "pupusas" were but the thick cormeal tortilla stuffed with refried beans was absolutely delicious.  I imagined the fried pork rinds to be the ones bought in the store like chips but they were actually the hearty pork bell fat like Chicharron.  I felt a little guilty eating it but it was great!

The french fries and wings were typical of a fast food restaurant and didn't offer any excitement but it was still nice to pick on.

The grilled shrimp and skirt steal was perfectly marinated and delicious.  The cucumbers, tomato and romaine lettuce added a nice balance to some of the salty treats.

With the huge appetizer and complimentary chips and dips, we didn't' really have room for entrees or dessert.  The fried ice cream on the dessert menu looked promising.

Prices were reasonable. For 2 margaritas, 1 wine, 1 tequila on the rock, chips and salsa and a large appetizer that was plenty enough for us to share as dinner was about $ 60.00 with tax included.

We'll just have to wait until next time! We will definitely be back for more margaritas and food!

Service was a bit sub par and we didn't get any napkins and our server didn't check on us. Anytime we needed drinks or wanted to order, we would have to call her.
  1. El Potro Mexican Bar & Grill
    Address: 124 Merrimack St, Lowell, MA 01852