Cantina Laredo serves up sizzling selections

Review: Destiny USA's premiere gourmet Mexican restaurant's soft atmosphere, steamy entrees and sweet desserts will leave you satisfied.

Brand new to Syracuse’s neck of the woods is Cantina Laredo, the modern Mexican restaurant that opened in Destiny USA this July. Its menu is stock-full of dishes sure to revive taste buds craving authentic Mexican flavors.

Cantina Laredo’s service is quick and its waiters are friendly and engaging. You can enjoy your meal by the bar, in a booth or at the many tables scattered throughout the restaurant. Extra seating is available on the outskirts of Cantina Laredo, ideal for people-watching. The plants and brick and wood walls that line the edge of the restaurant give it a cozy, but sophisticated feel. Cantina Laredo’s minimalist decor adds to your dining experience, but its menu is the shining star.

Don’t sell yourself short with Taco Bell. Cantina Laredo’s enchiladas are topped with either sour cream poblano sauce or chili con carne, and no matter what meat you choose to devour in your tacos, enchiladas or fajitas, it’s sure to be fresh and flavorful. The dishes are meticulously prepared with just enough seasoning to put a hold on your relationship with the salt shaker—at least for the night.

My friendly waiter, the soft rock music playing through the speakers and Cantina Laredo’s signature top shelf guacamole helped time fly by while I waited for my meal. The thin, crispy tortilla chips (free refills!) were a perfect match for the chunky, creamy guac made fresh at your table. For those of you not too keen on guacamole, have no fear: The chips are served with both mild and spicy salsa with hints of chili flavors. For an extra kick, order the signature Casa Rita margarita, or take it up a notch with the sweeter and stronger sugar-rimmed Mango Margarita.

In fact, every Thursday night is Ladies’ Night at the cantina. Half-priced house margaritas and wine by the glass galore! And don’t worry, everyone can take advantage of a great deal Mondays through Fridays with Happy Hour at the bar from 4 — 7 p.m.

And now, back to the food.

For the seafood enthusiasts, the restaurant’s signature tacos de pescado are a must-try. Three warm corn tortillas encase grilled mahi-mahi and marinated vegetables topped off with queso fresco and chipotle aioli. The red cabbage and roasted red peppers transform these simple tacos into a visual masterpiece.

The dessert you can’t pass up is Cantina Laredo’s signature Mexican apple pie, served on a skillet in a pool of sizzling Mexican brandy butter. Yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. The sweetness of the pie’s crust and apples pair perfectly with the thick brandy butter. A smooth scoop of cinnamon ice cream brings another texture and temperature to the dish, giving your meal a melt-in-your-mouth finish.

Neither time nor money goes to waste at Cantina Laredo. Your friends, chips ‘n dips and drinks will keep you busy until your meal arrives. With the restaurant almost entirely full, my table’s meal arrived in less than 20 minutes. And with reasonably priced dishes, Cantina Laredo won’t leave anyone with empty pockets.

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