La Fiesta Azteca - Melbourne - 3.5 Stars
Question, loyal reader. Who here does not like to party? I'll wait. If you are like the majority of us, and by us I mean humans, then you do indeed like to party. Let your hair down, kick off your shoes, have a drink or two and tear up the rug. With that in mind, I was driving up AIA towards Cocoa Beach when my eyes caught, "La Fiesta" on my list of restaurants to be reviewed. As I am always in the mood to party, I figured, why not hit them up today? As I pulled off of AIA into their parking lot, I saw what is becoming my favorite parking lot feature...lots of cars. Always a good sign.
Upon entering, I experienced a short wait and then was brought to my table and handed a menu with the cursory, "Your server will be right with you," I was left alone to peruse the menu. Reading it, I saw the standard Mexican, or a rather Mexican-American fare, however, hidden amongst the average offerings were distinctly Mexican dishes one does not usually find in a casual dining Mexican-American restaurant. Chalk one up to the dude/dudette that plans the menu.
My server soon approached and introduced herself as, Sunny. She was very aptly named as she was extremely personable, professional and charming. Instead of ordering multiple items from various sections on the menu, I went with their Trio Mexicano which included: Carne Asada, Pollo Asada and Camarones a la Mexicana along with sides of rice, refried beans, guacamole, tortillas and pico de gallo. As Sunny was soon approaching my table with a tray laden with my feast, I was reminded of something my Grandmother used to tell me as a child, "It would seem your eyes are bigger than your stomach!" I set out with the same determination I had as a kid to prove her wrong!
The Carne Asada was made with prime cuts of beef, seasoned to perfection and cooked just right. The chicken was its brother from another mother as it too was done perfectly. This then brings us to the Camarones a la Mexicana (Shrimp cooked Mexican style). While I give the cook an A + for pre-seasoning the shrimp before cooking, the restaurant gets a C for using cheap, frozen shrimp. I wonder if the owners have looked across AIA recently and noticed that huge body of water out there. For your reference, it's called the Atlantic Ocean and it is full of fresh shrimp!
The Salsa, the Guacamole the Pico de Gallo and the tortillas were all made fresh and exploded with flavor on the palate. The cilantro was popping, the heat was simmering and the combination caused my taste buds to dance a little La Cucaracha samba. This Gringo was in Mexican food paradise and had no intentions of leaving any time soon. Alas, Sunny needed to turn the table over, so after a quick, hopefully, un-noticed siesta at my table, I reluctantly left.
The Big Boy says, "If you want authentic Mexican food with fresh ingredients and guacamole worth killing for, stop in any location of La Fiesta's, sit down and let the flavor party begin. Ole!"