ABOVE: The beef enchilada ranchera plate at Mary Ann’s Mexican restaurant in Stamford.
MARY ANN’S: 184 SUMMER ST., STAMFORD
After being called out as a “West Coast Snob” on the blog yesterday regarding my natural skepticism of the new Mary Ann’s Mexican restaurant on Summer St., I felt obligated to put aside my inherent bias and sample an entree.
So in a fit of overcompensation, I donned my Top-Siders and a button-down Oxford and before heading out to West Beach for the afternoon, I stopped by Mary Ann’s with a friend.
Mary Ann’s has a bunch of other locations in Manhattan and one in Port Chester and though I’ve seen them before, I’d never been in one.
The Stamford location had been open for less than 24-hours at this point, so it is with a degree of caution that I let my true feelings be known in this forum. The relatively inexpensive menu was highly pared down for opening day from what, on the internet anyway, is a veritable encyclopedia of Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes.
The first bad sign was that the tap water was basically undrinkable. Neither of us could really figure out what was wrong with it. But it was wrong. I’m sure they will work that out.
On to the margarita. It tasted like something you’d make with the green stuff in the bottle. For what it’s worth, I don’t know anything about margaritas and I ordered it on the rocks with salt for $8. It was OK, I drank it and I was happy, but it was nothing fancy.
Next, I ordered the beef enchiladas after learning that the beef was, in fact, steak cubes rather than ground, though I’d prefer shredded. The beef was tender and well seasoned and the dish came with black beans, a little shredded iceberg and half of an avocado.
For the record, I’m not an authenticity freak when it comes to Mexican food. I don’t really care if I’m eating something that you can’t find in Mexico [try and find a giant, gooey, carne asada burrito – one of man’s most perfect creations – in Mexico City]. Give me a couple of enchiladas with a fried egg on top and I’m good to go.
The bottom line is, I’d rather not get into the whole “this isn’t Mexican food, this is Tex-Mex” or whatever debate, I’d rather just enjoy my food.
That being said, my food at Mary Ann’s was not very good. The enchiladas were OK, the sauce wasn’t that great, the whole dish was overcooked and sort of crusty and I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to compare it to something I’d buy at Costco and have to defrost.
It was their first day, so I guess I should give them the benefit of the doubt. The restaurant is in a decent downtown location and I’m sure that on a lively Friday or Saturday night, the atmosphere will probably make up for a lot, provided that you ignore the fake cacti and that the high school crowd doesn’t take to it like it has to Buffalo Wild Wings.
But I’m not a grumpy old man. I swear.
POST SCRIPT: It wasn’t all bad, the waitress was very nice and she said the menu will soon expand to the full version after the kitchen staff get a handle on things.