Nov 16, 2012 (Mail Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Under the slogan "Your Friendly Neighborhood Mexican Restaurant," the folks at the new Miguel's in Medford extol an affable and efficient waitstaff -- virtues the servers live up to.
The traditional Mexican cuisine at this locally owned chain, however, is not a compelling alternative to any other Mexican restaurant in the Rogue Valley. The menu is fairly standard, organized by burritos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, combinations, chicken, meats, seafood, salads and soups. House special tortas for $7 complement $5 lunch specials. A "fiesta party menu" is available for carryout or catering in the adjacent event center.
With restaurants in Ashland, Gold Hill and Shady Cove -- among the multitude of Mexican eateries throughout the Rogue Valley -- it's a pity Miguel's doesn't strive to be a cut above the rest.
The restaurant was not crowded on the Friday night my friend and I came in for dinner. Perhaps everyone was braving the line to eat at the new Chipotle Mexican Grill in the Northgate Marketplace.
We started with margaritas, prominently highlighted on the menu, and an appetizer of chicken taquitos. Both were disappointing.
Taquitos should be tightly rolled, deep-fried and served crispy and piping hot. These were on the mushy side, as if they'd been grilled, and served on a bed of icy, shredded lettuce and chopped onion and tomato that chilled them considerably. The margaritas were generously fortified with liquor but served with very little ice, making them rather tepid.
My friend tried the chicken fajitas, and I chose a chili relleno plate.
The large portion of fajitas was enough for at least two meals, and my friend took some home with her. The relleno was very cheesy and thickly breaded, but the side orders of rice and beans were scant and barely covered the plate. Neither dish was remarkable, but could be made more piquant with the salsas and hot sauces served on the side.
Miguel's is at 1016 N. Riverside Ave. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
-- Laurie Heuston
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