There are countless cuisines capable of sparking heated arguments between those who are certain they know the restaurant that cooks it up best—and the best Mexican in Hoboken is no different. When speaking with locals, I received a mix of a few usual suspects—but there was one that piqued my interest. It seemed that over and over again, Charrito’s was a place that pleased many with its authenticity and quality.
Charrito’s has three locations: Weehawken, uptown Hoboken, and downtown Hoboken. I ventured to the downtown location around 8 p.m. on a Monday night and was pleasantly surprised to see they were on a wait (I dislike waiting but always try to be hopeful that it is a sign of great food). The downside is that this location is the size of a thumbtack and if you are waiting, you certainly cannot wait inside. On a warm summer night, this would be far less of a conundrum, but considering it was 17 degrees at the time, we were not quite sure what to do at first. Luckily, a few steps away is Mills Tavern, and since Charrito’s happily took my cell number to call us when our table was ready, we ventured next door for a few drinks before dinner.
We waited about 25 minutes for our table to open up and from the moment we sat down the service was extremely attentive. Charrito’s is a B.Y.O.B. and to my absolute delight they will make sangria out of any wine you bring, so they immediately took our bottle and got our batch stirred up promptly. A favorite appetizer of Charrito’s-goers is their homemade guacamole, which they mix up right at your table. You can decide on the level of spiciness—we went with medium and it was perfect, as I usually prefer something on the milder side and my dining companion prefers to singe her mouth with pure fire. We were both content with the outcome.
Their menu has a sizable selection that could please just about anyone, from tacos to burritos, seafood to chicken—this place has options. I noticed there were several types of enchiladas, and considering this is usually one of my favorite dishes, I decided to try one of them out. Our sever was extremely helpful in guiding me to the option that would be most pleasing to my taste buds, landing me on the Enchiladas Norteñas. Dubbed “A Charrito’s classic since 1992”, this dish includes two corn tortillas stuffed with chicken or beef and is smothered in salsa verde or salsa ranchera, and topped with melted cheese. I went with salsa ranchera (the less spicy option) and my companion went with the salsa verde.
To put it plainly—the enchiladas were delicious. The corn tortillas were light and did not become soggy from the sauces (my enchilada pet peeve). My dish had a wonderful flavor with the tomato-based sauce and the shredded chicken was tender and savory. The spicier version was not as intimidating as I thought it would be and had a sweet kick to it that I really enjoyed. My dining companion was looking for a little extra spice and asked for some hot sauce. This is what we received…
Also known as, fire in a bowl. I dabbed a small amount on my tongue and had to gulp down a glass of water. She poured it all over her meal and ate happily. When in Mexico, I guess. Overall, this meal had us both silent for a solid 15 minutes and the result was, we would have probably just finished the job by licking the plate clean if it were socially acceptable. Though I am always on the hunt for new dining spots, it’s safe to say I will be back at Charrito’s for further exploration of their menu.
121 Washington Street