For years there’s been a mediocre Mexican restaurant on Federal that gay menhave flocked to on Monday nights. I think it all started with a special on Margaritas and then became a tradition. Now there’s a new challenger and I almost hate to share the news because Bar Rita, on Andrews, is also attracting quite a sizable LGBT following Monday nights. I’m afraid if enough of you read this, I won’t be able to get a table anymore.
The visit for the review and the review were written before the COVID-19 shutdown. Contact the restaurant for its current dining guidelines.
What makes this place such a draw for the hordes of gay men that take the elevator to the rooftop deck (with stunning views of said gay men, oh and the downtown skyline, as well)? It could be the $5 Margarita special. It could be $5 off all fajita dishes.
It could be the fact that the food is terrific, the atmosphere is hip and the wait staff attractive. More than likely it’s a combination of all of those, but the primary reason to come here is the food!
Let’s talk about that food. For starters, check out the guacamole; good enough on its own, but when topped with a scoop of a creamy combination of charred corn, truffle crema, cotija, chile-lime seasoning it is spectacular. Another option for topping the house guac is hand-chopped sushi grade tuna, sriracha and scallion. Either of those is only a buck more than the regular guac and all versions come with plenty of chips for scooping.
Other starter options include chorizo queso (Mexican fondue) or the carne asada fiesta fries, featuring flame-grilledskirtsteak, pico di gallo, queso, guacamole sauce andchipotle ranch dressing over a platter of fries. You could also go with the seriously large platter of nachos (which you can get plain or topped with chicken, shrimp or carne asada). Any of these will provide plenty for a group of 4-6 hungry folks.
For dinner the taco platters are a bit small, featuring only two tacos (along with rice and beans or a salad), but if you’ve had an app you won’t go away hungry. Choose from traditional: pork carnitas, carne asada, grilled chicken or shrimp. Or go for something a little more exotic: brisket barbacoa, crispy mahi-mahi, or the sublime beer battered fried avocado, which comes topped with a spicy Baja sauce, Oaxaca cheese and pico di gallo. All of the taco dinners are in the $15-$20 range.
Rita’s fajitas platters offer a choice of Wagyu steak, shrimp, chicken or a combo platter and are served on a bed of veggies with guac, sour cream, lettuce, pico, cheese, lime and warm flour tortillas. They range in price $8-24 (but don’t forget that Monday night discount), which may seem high, but there’s easily enough for two to share and if you prefer not to share, when they bring you leftover-boxes they also supply more sauce and tortillas, a nice touch.
For entrees, there are also brisket barbacoa enchiladas, grilled prime skirt steak adobo, chicken a la plancha, ancho grilled salmon bowl, chile relleno, and an oversized loaded burrito.
All entrees are in the $15-$22 range. Brunch is served on weekends and includes such options as truffle street corn avocado toast, tres leches French toast, maple habañero chicken and waffles and a breakfast burrito.
A word must be said about the $5 Margaritas on Mondays. You have the choice of on the rocks or frozen. Either way, the nectar of the gods is prepared with Hornitos Plata, orange liqueur and half the rim is coated with a chile-lime salt that is delish.
Whether you choose to dine indoors, on the patio, or on the rooftop deck you’ll be blown away by your surroundings. The only negative to complain about is the service.
It’s friendly and our server was well-informed. However, after he took our order all the dishes were brought to the table by a chorus-line of folks who hadn’t the slightest idea how to set a plate down and never knew who had ordered what. That aspect of the dining experience was certainly not up to the level of the rest of our experience.
They’ve got a huge crowd of gay men coming on Monday nights for the discounted Margaritas, but if they want to keep them, they’ll have to up their game when it comes to the wait staff. Queens demand good service!
1401 S. Andrews
Rita’s not the only one giving special deals. Check out these other places
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1411 S. Andrews
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Two for one entrees on Wednesday nights.