A brand new restaurant opened just today, actually, Cafe Mexico replaces what has previously been several bistros and Italtian-themed eateries. Departing from them, this new eatery serves up a combination of Mexican, Cuban and Latin American cuisine. The cuisine is a mixture of simple favorites and finer cuisine, a mixture of a casual theme and an intimate atmosphere. The opening day for any business is rough, and this one did have a few. But ultimately I would be willing to say it’s worth a visit for how new and unusual the food is for the area.
The menu has a thorough blend of Cuban and Latin American elements, which is unusual for Dayton. As far as I know, actually, this is the only place in town with Cuban food. The Cuban seasoning is apparent with the skirt steak, seared and cooked in rich Cuban spices and on a bun with guacamole, marinated red onions, and vegetables. The sandwich is great. Unfortunately, the steak wasn’t cut well; that or it was overcooked, because the strips of skirt steak were a little tough and chewy. It probably was cut with too much gristle.
Also on the menu were some simpler and more familiar dishes, like the chicken tacos. The dish itself is brilliant; those are refried beans and Spanish rice, which you find in any hispanic restaurant. But they’re definitely organic and made in-house. The tortillas are made in house. The salsa is excellent. In fact, everything is homemade, and it shows. The tacos are great, though I do have a complaint: the chicken is bland. It needs some kind of seasoning, because it literally tastes unseasoned. Maybe try the beef tacos, instead. Even the simple items are good, there is an appetizer with homemade chips and a queso-and-pepper dip.
The service in the restaurant is generally good. As it is opening day, the food took much longer than it should have, but this is pretty normal for a restaurant trying to get things together. The waiters are professional and capable, but it was the manager that particularly impressed me. When our food was really lagging, he personally came out and apologized and ensured it was fixed immediately. The staff definitely will benefit from experience and getting used to business, but for now the level of professionalism is exceptional. That’s the kind of service that makes me want to come back.
All told, the food could use some refinement, but the menu is creative, unique, fresh, and definitely delicious. I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Other restaurants should take heed; the quality of competition just went up a notch.
- There are some happy hour specials, and I was told appetizers would be half price during that time.
- The restaurant is a little cramped, and I’d recommend only bringing a small group. I’d also recommend dining when weather is good, as there’s an ample porch.
- For now I don’t suggest coming if you’re in a rush; service is still a little slow.