Restaurant review

Restaurant Review: Habaneros Grandview – Columbus Underground

The Habaneros Fresh Mexican Grill team operates three restaurants here in central Ohio. You’ll find a few Habaneros locations in the Hilliard area, and he’s now joined the Grandview community in the Empire of Large Rectangular Brick Buildings.

Large rectangles aside, it’s what’s inside that counts. That’s always true when it comes to good food. And inside Habaneros Grandview there are lots of TVs. Big, really big, bright TVs.

Honestly, that’s totally fine too. The Grandview location aims to be a gathering place for games and other things…so it’s a hot spot with great food and a great patio for dining. The overall effect is a bit glitzy, and it works just fine. A visit to any establishment is more successful when you understand what it is trying to accomplish.

Habaneros house menu looks familiar. It’s easy to approach, even for a customer who is new to the Habaneros game. It offers many classics: quesadillas, tacos, tortas. Even the entrees are familiar, with options largely focused on fries and dips. Although…there is a mozzarella stick option, for those who inexplicably crave that sort of thing at a Mexican restaurant. Sticks probably have something to do with TVs, maybe.

So to start, directly fries with a solid salsa is $4.50. It’s convenient but also standard, so the main interests will be further down the menu.

Chips and salsa

The best recommendation, then, is to check the Street Tacos. They are manageable masterpieces that can be mixed and matched in a variety of home combinations. Of those who have tried Chicken Tingapairing savory chicken shreds with lettuce, cheese and sour cream, was excellent.

Chicken Tinga Street Taco

Same winning experience for the Barbacoa, with mild stewed beef, onions and cilantro. the Fish taco was less friendly. While its habanero sauce and crunchy red cabbage were good concept partners, the fish itself seemed like an afterthought ($3.25-3.75 each).

Barbacoa Street Tacos
Fish Street Tacos

There’s also a carnitas option in the taco department, but the carnitas is worthy of a torta. Simply put, go ahead and commit to a big homemade stuffed sandwich. The masterpiece spills out of its bun with soft and savory pulled pork, velvety avocado, tomato, lettuce, beans, jalapeño, mozzarella and mayonnaise, just for the bind with additional wealth (Carnitas Torta$13).

Carnitas Torta

For the custom crowd, there are bowls and burritos that can be built to order. You choose a meat (in addition to the options mentioned above, there are also steak and shrimp offerings), brown or white rice, black or pinto beans, salsa, and then things like sautéed vegetables , lettuce and cheese. The base price is $11. the Barbacoa (mild beef) might add an extra buck, but working with sour cream it blends the whole bowl so well it’s worth it.

Barbacoa bowl

There’s a glitzy drinks menu to match the glitzy new digs. The bar offers the traditional Margaritas, as well as more adventurous variations on its menu. Concrete example, the Jalapeño Margarita ($12), which combines a peppery Cazadores reposado tequila with lime juice and a jalapeño element. It is a drink with bite. There’s also optional Mexican wine, beer, and coke.

Jalapeño Margarita

Habaneros Grandview is located at 1105 Yard St. and open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It also recently added a daily breakfast menu available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a Sunday-Thursday happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit habanerosgrandview.com.

All photos by Susan Post


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