I have enjoyed the new life that the Parole area has been given over the last few years. With all of the restaurant options in that area, one might ask, “why go to Mi Lindo Cancún Grill”? The answer, of course, is to eat fresh Mexican cuisine and a fun authentic restaurant. Who could ask for more?
When you first pull into the parking lot, the building doesn’t look like much. Tucked away a block behind Shopper’s, it is easy to miss it. Entering the restaurant, however, you can see the effort that this family has put into making Mi Lindo comfortable and inviting. Adorned with Mexican art and massive wood doors that look hand-made, you can believe that you have stepped out of Annapolis and into downtown Cancún.
Once seated, we were given fresh made warm chips and hot salsa. Not spicy-hot (though it does have a nice kick to it). I’m talking temperature-hot. It was kind of weird eating warm salsa, but I kept eating it, and ended up really liking it. The chips were light, crispy and slightly salted; exactly what I like in a tortilla chip. Pouring over the menu, I enjoyed listening to the Hispanic music. I feel music while dining is so important, especially when that music drives home the theme of the restaurant.
We started off with a couple of drinks and an appetizer. Chandra had the Classic Margarita ($9 for 12oz.), which she gave her thumbs-up approval on. I had Dos Equis Amber (my beer of choice when dining Mexican), which was on draft and delicious. For the app we had an order of the Empanadas de Pollo ($7.95), which was three corn dough-wrapped fried pies with chicken, black beans, cheese and vegetables. Served on the side was a tray of condiments including a crushed tomato sauce and curtido, which is an Ecuadorian slaw without mayonnaise. The Empanadas were really good, with a fresh filling and a crispy crust. I loved the sides as well, though I personally felt none were necessary for the Empanadas. This was a great start to the meal.
For mains, Chandra had the Enchiladas de Mole ($12.95). This is soft corn tortillas with queso fresco, chicken and Oaxaca mole. At first taste I thought that the sauce seemed nice. Then the flavors kept coming and coming. The mole was so rich and smoky with strong umami tastes and just a hint of cocoa. The enchiladas themselves were very good too, with a great flaky corn wrapping and moist shreds of chicken. Both Chandra and I enjoyed felt the enchiladas were excellent.
I had the Fajitas Nortenā ($17.95) with peppers, onions, tomatoes, beef strips, baby scallops and shrimp. Everything was so fresh! There really isn’t a lot to making a fajita, but this one was a cut above the rest. The skillet was mounded high with fresh vegetables and meats. In addition to the tender strips of beef and small scallops there were several medium scallops and large shrimp. Everything was so flavorful, and the flour tortillas were fantastic. Both entrees were served with Spanish rice and black beans. I personally felt the rice was a little dry, but the beans had a great texture and tasted superb.
Feeling very satisfied with our food, and having eaten most of it, we took a look at the dessert menu. Most of it seemed pretty basic, and I was disappointed to learn that none of the desserts were made in-house. We tried the Tres Leches ($7.95), a traditional three layered cake that is moistened with warm milk. This was a passable dessert, though I felt the icing was too sweet.
Dessert aside, the food at Mi Lindo Cancún Grill was fresh and vibrant. The menu is extensive, and I can’t wait to get back to try more of it. Maybe next time I’ll try their breakfast. I also really love that this is a family business. You can tell how much effort and passion has gone into the restaurant and the food. I look forward to making Mi Lindo one of my regular Parole places to dine.
Mi Lindo Cancún Grill
WHERE: 2134 Forest Drive, Annapolis
HOURS: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
BREAKFAST: $8 to $13
LUNCH/DINNER: $8 to $24
RESERVATIONS: not required
CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards
KEY POINTS: Open for Brunch
Correspondent David Ludwig is a Chef Instructor at the HCAT Institute of Anne Arundel Community College.