Review: Rio Grande, Newport

I am always on the hunt for good Mexican food.  Terry, in particular, loves his margaritas and chips and salsa.  When our friends Lile and April suggested we head south-of-the-border (har har) to their favorite Mexican place, Rio Grande in the Newport Shopping Center, we braved the river (hyperbole: I grocery shop in Kentucky half the time) for some good Mexican.

We had to wait for a table– it was 7:00 on a Saturday night and the place was packed– so we headed to the bar and ordered margaritas.  They were frozen and pretty good– but so frozen it took me a little while to actually be able to drink mine.  Tasty, though!  The second margarita at the table was more drinkable.

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Fairly soon, our table was called, and we were ushered to a booth, where nearby the waitstaff was putting a giant sombrero on the head of some lucky birthday boy, and singing to him.  Very cute.

We started off with chips, salsa  and guacamole: the guac needed a tiny bit more salt, but it was delicious and obviously very fresh.  The salsa was also very fresh and flavorful– with surprisingly fresh tasting tomatoes despite the season.  Yum.  I could seriously make a meal off of both of those dips and some chips.

We followed up with entrees– enough food to serve an army. And it was incredibly fast– we had food on our table in less than ten minutes. April says they turn the food around even faster at lunchtime– I can’t imagine.

I got enchiladas Suizas, filled with chicken and cheese and topped with a delicious salsa verde. It’s sort of my standard order at a Mexican restaurant. These were chock full of chicken and cheese, and the salsa verde was spicy, but not overpowering. I could barely eat one and a half of them– they were huge!
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Terry chose a trio– a chimichanga, a taco, and a chili Relleno. I had a bit of the chili Relleno– very nice, with smooth cheese and a nice batter. The taco and chimichangas were both good too– this is certainly a step above your average strip mall Mexican.

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If you’re not in the area, it’s worth a trip to Newport for Rio Grande– fast service, good drinks, and good food in a friendly environment. It’s very kid friendly, but we also saw the beginnings of a bachelorette party– so a diverse crowd.

Other locations include Hamilton, OH and Florence– so you can still check it out whether you’re in the Newport area or not.

El Rio Grande on Urbanspoon

  • vudutu

    Julie,
    Girl you went without me! We tried Rio this winter, he liked his she didn’t like hers. La Mexicana is still tops so far for us. Still, Rio Grande will do if La Mexicana is closed. I would like to try Taqueria Mercado but we rarely get that far north lately. Still longing for real good Mex in the nati.

  • Anneliese Knoff

    Rio Grande in Newport is my favorite place for chimichangas for lunch. Extremely fast service, excellent salsa, and tons of food! For margs, though, Cancun on the West Side is better, and Rio Grande’s queso dip is a little watery. I prefer mine with some heft to it – Moe’s is one of my faves for queso.

  • http://littlemissknowitall.net LittleMissKnowitAll

    I love this place too! And they’re pretty frugal too!

    Now if I could just find Guatemalan….I’d be a very happy girl!

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