Saturday, April 24, 2010

Review: Fresco Tortillas Grill

Name: Fresco Tortillas Grill
Address: 214 Walton St, Syracuse, NY
Phone: (315) 472-8226
Neighborhood: Downtown (Armory Square)
Menu: View Menu
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex, Asian Fusion
Restaurant Hours: 11 AM to 9:30 PM Monday-Thursday, 11 AM to 10:30 PM Friday-Saturday, 12 PM to 10 PM Sunday
Parking: On-Street
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Take-Out: Yes
Delivery: Yes




I don't like writing negative reviews. Mainly because I don't want to bash a place that is just trying to fit in. But I have no idea what to make of this place. Objectively, I suppose you could call the food here Asian Fusion, but it's more or less a Chinese restaurant attempting to serve Mexican food.

In what was the old Movino's Pizza location on Walton Street, Fresco Tortillas and Grill has been open in Armory Square for about a year now. The name is borrowed from a family restaurant in New York City of the same. Other local family businesses include Dragon City and Oishi Sushi.

Inside are a few high tables, tall chairs, a flat screen TV playing the news, and a counter in the back for ordering. I was the only person in here sans for what I assume was the owner's child playing with toys around one of the tables.

The menu is laid out like a typical Chinese restaurant with numbers along sides of menu items. It's relatively small, but has some tempting options like nachos, taco locos (flour tortilla with cheese wrapping a hard shell taco), tostadas, chili con carne, and quesadillas (the mixed vegetable with bok choy, baby corn, and carrots is probably the perfect example of "Asian Fusion" here). A decent portion of the menu is made in-house including the beans, salsa, tortilla chips, and flour tortillas.

The order...

Chicken Burrito: $4.99
Shrimp Taco: $3.09
Sprite: $1.09
Total money spent with tax & tip: $9.60

The food came out extremely fast. Probably the quickest I've ever gotten food that wasn't fast food. There was something kind of awkward about being in there by myself the 1-2 minutes while I was waiting for my food. The interior is kind of strange and uncomfortable, so when I got my meal (which had already been placed into a plastic bag) I decided to take it over to Armory Square Park and eat outside.

Pictured here is the shrimp taco with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese all in a hard shell.

The taco shell was good; a nice crunch and served warm, but nothing else really held up. The shrimp was more or less the stir-fry kind you'd find at a Chinese buffet and there were large pieces of lettuce with just a couple pieces of tomatoes inside. The salsa and sour cream both came in separate mini plastic containers. Although it's advertised as homemade, the salsa was essentially what you'd expect from any canned salsa. A pretty basic taco, but I didn't finish the shrimp (which is blasphemous in my family).


Pictured above is the chicken burrito: a grilled 12-inch flour tortilla served with chicken, white rice, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese.

A HUGE portion size (essentially a giant rolled up ball of food), but most of which consisted of rice and beans. Very few tomatoes, large pieces of romaine lettuce, and generally bland black beans. While hot and fully cooked, the chicken was moist, albeit a little spongy, and the rice was pretty soggy (dare I say, sticky rice?). I did like the grilled flour tortilla, but the rest left a lot to be desired. Certainly edible, but I just wasn't up for finishing it.

Some other things of note...

- Fresco offers catering to nearby businesses

- They also offer delivery within Downtown with a $10 minimum

I suppose if you like the individual ingredients (say, beans, cheese, or rice) it will suffice here. Nothing was really coming together for me though. The tortillas were respectable, but what's a tortilla if the actual ingredients don't hold up? It's very quick food, so if you're stretched for time during a lunch break, it might do. I think my money may have been more well-spent had I walked across the street and picked out a roll or two at Sakana-Ya.

Sorry, Fresco. I know you're trying, but I wasn't feelin it. A half star for friendly service.

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