I'm naturally frugal and I like to eat lightly, so I'm all for quick snack-like meals. I don't mind grazing through the entire day, in fact. Bryan, on the other hand, likes having a "proper dinner", complete with all the right food groups (most importantly, meat). As a result, if we're out and about (say, at the mall, for instance), I'm perfectly happy getting a snack at the food court, while Bryan will insist on finding a place where we can sit down.
One place where this becomes an issue is at the Burlington Mall, a suburban mall right outside of Boston that's close to our church. If we're there and we want to eat according to Bryan's preferences, we are left with very few options. The Burlington Mall has a woefully limited selection of sit-down places. We're talking places like the Rainforest Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory, Uno's, and Legal Sea Foods.
Up to this point, we almost always chose Legal Sea Foods. They have some really nice seafood and I love getting their tuna burger for lunch. However, sometimes I wish we had just a few more options.
Recently, a Mexican restaurant called Besito informed me that they were opening a new location in the Burlington Mall and invited me to come in and try a meal. Besito first opened in 2006 in New York and had three locations (two in New York and one in Connecticut), before opening this first Massachusetts location in Burlington. A new fifth one is coming to Chestnut Hill in the fall.
Since Bryan and I go to the Burlington Mall pretty frequently (and Bryan loves Mexican food), we were definitely interested in finding out whether Besito held any promise as an additional sit-down option at the mall.
Last weekend after church, Bryan and I hopped over to the Burlington Mall to give Besito a try.
The space is bright, airy, and beautifully designed. I love all the light streaming through the windows.
We sat down, and free house made chips and tomato salsa came to the table almost immediately. I really liked the salsa, which had a nice tomato flavor and wasn't too salty. I found that I couldn't stop eating those chips, even though in the back of my mind I knew I had to save room for the rest of the meal.
While we were perusing the menu, the waiter asked if we wanted to get started with some Guacamoile en Molcajete ($11.95), or table side guacamole. As the name indicates, this is guacamole that's freshly mixed from avocados right at the table.
The recipe is very simple, and the waiter told me they don't really adjust it too much except to add more or less jalapenos (depending on preference). It consists of just a few ingredients: cilantro, onions, avocados, chopped tomatoes, and salt. It's quite similar to my own version, with the glaring exception of lime and garlic. Personally, I thought the flavors were a bit light, and I would have preferred having some lime and maybe just a tad more salt added.
We asked for "medium" spicy, which Bryan thought was not spicy enough. Thankfully, the waiter had given Bryan an extra container full of chopped jalapenos. These did the trick, and Bryan though the guac was pretty tasty after the addition of the extra jalapenos.
Overall, it's a simple, clean-tasting guac, mostly dominated by straight up, creamy avocado goodness.
There are several interesting cocktails on the menu. I got the signature cocktail, the Besito Patron Margarita (pictured right), which was made with Patron Reposado tequila, Cointreau, pomegranate-tangerine juice and fresh squeezed lime. It was refreshingly bright and fruity without being too sweet at all. It was very good.
We started with a Taquitos de Camarones, or Crispy Shrimp Tacos, which came with shredded organic romaine lettuce, pico de gallo, chipotle cream salsa, cilantro, and queso fresco ($11.95 for three). These were pretty tasty - the shrimp was juicy inside and perfectly fried on the outside, and all the ingredients were very fresh.
Our other starter was the Tamale de Elote y Camarones, which was a fresh corn tamale filled with seared shrimp, chipotle chile cream, onions, cilantro, and queso fresco ($10.95). Although the cornmeal filling was a bit mushier than I preferred, the flavors of the overall dish were decent. The chipotle chile cream sauce and the shrimp added a needed savory balance to the sweet corn and cornmeal filling.
I couldn't help but compare this with a similar dish I've had at Mesa Grill, and thinking that I liked the Mesa Grill version better.
The waiter told us that the mole that they have is made with twenty-six ingredients and cooked for close to 20 hours. It's intense, flavorful, very rich, and polarizing. Some love it, and some just can't imagine a whole dish of this intense sauce.
Usually, if you order the Pechuga de Pollo, which is a chicken dish that uses the mole, they will bring you a small bowl of the mole to try to make sure you like the flavor.
When I tasted it, it reminded me of chocolate, raisin, and cinnamon. It was indeed intense and complex. Bryan thought it was really good. I thought it was nice, but not something I wanted to eat in large quantities.
Instead, we went with the Salmon Manchamanteles, a roasted salmon dish that's served with crispy bananas, pineapple picco de gallo, and a different, less intense type of mole called mole manchamateles ($22.95).
This dish was most definitely interesting and unlike anything I'd ever had at a Mexican restaurant before. The flavors took me by surprise, and were a bit foreign to me. I'm not used to eating sweet caramelized bananas, earthy mole, and pineapple salsa all together in one dish. It was hard to get used to so many sweet components. It was OK, but it wasn't one of my favorites.
Both Bryan and I agreed on our favorite dish: the Tacos Al Besito, which are make-your-own tacos served in their cast iron skillet.
Because we couldn't decide between the various options, we went with the Mixtos, which is a mix of grilled skirt steak, chorizo, and chicken cooked with melted queso Chihuahua, nopales salad (a salad made with tomatoes and pickled cactus), and two sauces: avocado salsa verde and chile de arbol salasa ($20.95).
All orders come with organic frijoles negros (black beans) and house rice.
The wraps are pretty small and you only get three initially, though they are happy to bring you more if you need it (and we definitely did!).
These were delicious, especially the chorizo (my favorite!). I would definitely consider ordering this again if I came.
We ordered a side dish of Platanos con Crema, which are fried sweet plantains topped with crema and queso fresco, a creamy, soft, mild Mexican cheese. This was very good. The plantains had a lovely caramelized flavor.
We had two desserts: Tres Leches literally means "three milks" and describes a sponge cake that has been soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream.
We thought this cake was delicious. The sponge cake is very fine and dense, and soaked up the various "milks" beautifully.
We also got the Flan, a classic Mexican (and Spanish) custard-style dessert that typically comes with a caramel sauce. This particular version was made with an orange flavored sauce, which I personally found a bit too sweet. The flan itself was very dense and creamy. All in all, we both preferred the Tres Leches, which I believe is also one of their most popular desserts.
It's always fun to get a parting dessert gift. Usually I only see this practice in really, really nice high end restaurants.
However, Besito gives all outgoing diners a churro and a Guatemalan worry doll. The legend goes that children in Guatemala who had trouble sleeping at night would tell their worries to these dolls, which they would then stick under their pillow. The doll would then do the "worrying" for the child, allowing the child to sleep peacefully.
It was a nice gesture to get a parting gift, and the churros (which we ate later that night) were delicious.
There are not that many sit-down restaurants in the Burlington Mall, so Besitos is a welcomed addition. The space is large, the decor is nice, and it's a comfortable place to enjoy a good meal. Our favorites included the mixtos tacos Besito, the shrimp taquitos, the tres leches, and the churros. The guacamole is also a fun starter, and I really enjoyed my cocktail, the Besito Patron Margarita.
Besito is located right across from Legal Sea Foods inside the mall. Although Legal is still a fine place to get a nice sit-down meal at the mall, it's really nice to have another very solid alternative.
I'll be back.
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Disclaimer: this meal was paid for by Besitos. All opinions are my own.
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