Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant: A Rustic Gem on PCH
2010-01-15 · By Chandra Clewley
Is it this cool time of year? Is it the craving for traditional slow cooked Mexican food? Is it the crowd that is bursting out of the front door? Whatever the reason, Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant has become a Long Beach staple for traditional, rustic Jaliscan food. There is almost always a wait here anytime after 5 p.m.
Upon walking in, you are greeted by a row of green booths that are tall enough to allow privacy. The other side of the aisle houses pine tables with rosette carved chairs. All of the tables have a work of art carved into the wood tabletop and encased in glass, that is somewhere between a diorama and bas-relief. The painting on the walls will also draw your attention they are all original artwork of Mexican beach and town scenes. Stare at them long enough and you will begin to envision yourself walking along the shore during sunset.
The chips and salsa were gone in about sixty seconds. The salsa is just so fresh and has a hint of roasting flavor that steps it up and adds depth. The most popular dish, according the friendly wait staff, is the Pork Shank which is slow cooked in their popular green sauce. True to their word, the meat just absolutely falls off of the bone. Know that this dish is HUGE and you should definitely be splitting it or plan on leftovers for a few meals. The Carne En Su Jugo dish is thin slices of beef cooked in its own juices along with tomatillo sauce, bacon, cilantro, onion and Serrano chiles. The bacon is forward in this dish, and again it is huge. Split it! We also ordered the #12 which is a gorgeous hand breaded green chile relleno and a fresh, towering chicken tostada; and the #6 which is three taquitos: chicken, beef and potato. With both of those dishes, you get your choice of refried pinto or black beans and rice. I have noticed a trend of potato tacos and taquitos in the local area that I have never really been exposed to elsewhere. While the potato taquito was excellent, I am surprised that this trend is growing with the anti-carb movement still in full swing. We also asked for hot sauce, as we do like a little heat in our food, and we were rewarded with an extremely hot Habanero sauce that seems to be little known to the patrons. It was very high heat, but a little dab added to the overall flavor of what could be slightly interpreted as bland on the combination dishes. I would say that there should be a middle heat alternative to the mild tomato salsa and hot habanero salsa. Enrique’s also has albondigas soup as well as traditional Jaliscan pozole, a hearty soup made with pork and hominy.
All in all, Enrique’s is a great, authentic and rustic Mexican on PCH. Be prepared to wait, because if you come after 5 p.m. no matter what the night, you will wait. It is definitely a local’s restaurant and the few times I have been I have still not had a booth. The portions are huge, so be prepared to split or box up. The servers are fabulous and I would say that they definitely add to the charm and if Enrique’s was already 4 stars, the servers would make it 5. If you are looking for traditional Jaliscan charm, just throw a bottle of Tapatio in your purse and be ready to lavish in the slow-cooked, fresh, tradition of recipes that must have been passed down from past generations. Wine and Beer are also served. (There is also an Enrique’s in Bellflower).
Enrique’s is at: 6210 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, CA 90803 (562)498-3622