Senor Ric’s for Tex-Mex

Aurora eatery more reliable than exciting

We have friends who really like Señor Ric’s, and since we like our friends, we’ve been there with them a couple of times. They are Texans, so the predictable Tex-Mex menu is right up their alley and in their food comfort zone. My husband likes it too, because he is happy with anything with “Mex” in the name. I can’t pretend to be as thrilled as they are with that style of cooking, which is based on ingredients commonly available north of the border using cooking methods derived from south of the border. Think combination plates featuring meat (mostly beef) inserted into various tortilla configurations and blanketed with sauce, topped with too much cheese and most often sided refried beans, Mexican rice, shredded iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes. For my part, I prefer Southwestern or more authentic regional Mexican cuisines.

Señor Ric’s is a big restaurant just west of I-225. It is tricked out with the usual Mexican decorative items. Popular with families, the dining room is crowded early in the evening and then thins out fast. The kitchen and waitstaff fairly efficiently produce the vast quantities of food to meet the rush-time demand. How different from Mexico, where dinner hour is later and there’s a congenial leisurely pace to every restaurant meal. On our last visit, as before, we started with weak margaritas (our teetotaler friends had soft drinks and iced tea), good crisp chips and salsa that is the most robustly flavored item on the menu, even though it tastes like flavored tomato sauce. From then on, everything seems to bland out.

I mistakenly ordered fish tacos, which had flavor — but unfortunately, it was the bad flavor of strong, dried-out fish that probably had been around a day or two longer than it needed to. I was hungry and was willing to overlook it at first. The unpleasant aspect started to hit me half-way through the first taco, which I managed to finish, though I didn’t even unwrap the second from the aluminum foil in which it was heated. In hindsight, I can’t recall why I didn’t send it back. I must have been feeling mellow. My friend lives nearby, and we often try to meet for dinner when her parents visit from Houston, so I’m sure we’ll go there again. But instead of fish tacos, maybe I’ll try the enchiladas next time, which I think I had before and which one of our friends had this time, or something else. My husband, I’m sure, will again order a combination plate.

Combo of cheese enchilada, shredded beef taco, and ground beef and bean tostada, plus rice, beans and L&T that were served on a separate plate.

 

Senor Ric''s Platter, an attractive sampler of pork green chili surrounded by three miniature two shredded beef chimichangas topped with cream cheese, two chicken flautas and two mini tacos.
This MIGHT be the spinach enchiladas, or maybe something else under all that sauce.
Senor Ric's seems to have cornered the market on shredded lettuce, the cheapest, least flavorful, least nutritious and lowest-fiber of all the lettuces out there.
Fish tacos as delivered to the table -- a symphony of silver -- with black beans rather than refried beans in the little dish and salsa in a small fried tortilla shell.
Fish taco, liberated from its strong foil prison.

Price check: At dinner, appetizers, $6.99-$9.79; soups, salads and wraps, $2.99-$8.49; combinations, $7.99-$11.99; assorted entrees under a couple of different headings on the menu, $7.29-$13.69, plus $29.79 for fajita platter; à la carte and sides, $2.99-$8.99. There is also a lunch menu, a happy hour menu, a kid’s menu and daily specials.

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