By Bonnie Cavanaugh
Golden Burrito, a fast-casual Mexican dining spot in the Flanders Village Mall, offers fresh, authentic foods with a family touch. It’s run by Marcos Polanco and his wife, Valerie Cosme, who together built the concept and developed the menu. The unit opened in December.
“We liked this food concept better,” Polanco says.
While he is Dominican, the idea of working with Mexican food came both from his 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and just knowing a lot about Mexican food.
“We decided to go into the adventure of opening our restaurant in 2015,” he says. His wife’s Mexican heritage also helped guide the concept, as some of the recipes came directly from Cosme’s family.
“We called people in Mexico to get some of our recipes, her grandmother and friends,” Polanco says.
All the menu items are made from scratch, down to the sauces: mild, hot, and “way hot,” he says. The menu features all types of Mexican snack foods and entrees, from tacos and burritos to Mexican tortas, or sandwiches, plus Mexican bowls, Tex-Mex quesadillas, soups and salads. All the ingredients are supplied by Best Mexican Foods of New York.
The dishes are designed to be a mixture of cool and hot. The enchiladas, for example, are set on a dish of spicy green enchilada sauce, but topped with a cool queso fresco. The spicy, but also refreshing, enchilada sauce is Polanco’s favorite.
“It’s addictive,” he says, “It’s hot—but you want to keep eating it.”
The restaurant’s name comes from its featured dish, the Golden Burrito, a deep-fried flour tortilla filled with rice, beans, cheese, and a choice of meat, and garnished with lettuce, pico de gallo, and spicy chipotle mayo, at $9.25. The meat choices for all of the burrito dishes include chicken; carnitas, which is slow-cooked pork; al pastor, or marinated pork; steak; pork chops; and chorizo beef.
There are seven burrito choices on the menu, including the Americano, made with Monterey Jack, cheddar, rice, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, at $8.85; the Chicken Wrap, with chicken, Monterey Jack, cheddar, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole, at $9.25; and, the Loco’rrito, made with two tortillas, jack and cheddar, rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, and served with spicy chipotle mayo, avocado, and French fries, at $12.
Dinner items include the most popular dish, Fajitas, made with chicken, shrimp, steak, or a mixture of all three, with grilled onions and peppers, rice and beans, corn tortillas, and pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole, from $12.25 to $16.50. Polanco plates it in a special way, laying the (red) pico de gallo, (white) sour cream and (green) guacamole together in the order of the colors of the Mexican flag for a subtle tribute.
Other entrees are Pork Chops En Salsa Verde, sautéed pork chops on spicy enchilada sauce with rice and beans, salad and tortillas, at $11.25; Enchiladas, featuring three rolled chicken or carnitas corn tortillas, “smothered” with spicy enchilada sauce and topped with sour cream and queso fresco, with a side of rice and beans, at $10.25; the Chicken Flautas include three fried corn tortillas with chicken, topped with lettuce, sour cream and queso fresco, with a side of rice and beans, at $9.50; and, Chilaquiles features tortilla chips covered with spicy enchilada sauce with onions, sour cream and queso fresco, with two fried eggs and beans, also at $9.50.
Golden Burrito also offers combo plates, such as the Tamales Platter, with two tamales, rice, beans and salad, at $9.50; the Sample, with quesadilla, fried taquito, two tacos, rice and beans, at $9.50; the Mexican Favorite, featuring one enchilada, two fried taquitos, rice and beans, and sweet yellow plantain, also at $9.50; and, Salad and Soup, tostada salad with soup, at $7.25.
“We are very proud of what we do in the kitchen,” Polanco says, adding that he is a stickler for following the book: the recipe book, that is. Every item is prepared by the recipe so that each dish tastes exactly the same every time it’s served.
“I don’t want to see anyone not using the recipes,” he adds, “Even the lime juice and garlic mix; there’s a recipe for that.”
Not that he won’t tweak a recipe now and then at a customer’s request. There are three varieties of Mexican Bowls on the menu, and Polanco has been known to add ingredients like nacho cheese or jalapenos if the customer prefers it that way. He’ll also honor any request a customer has for a special dish that’s not on the menu, as long as he has the ingredients in stock.
“If I have it in the kitchen, why not make it?” he says.
Many of the menu’s dishes can be served gluten-free simply by substituting a corn tortilla for a flour tortilla, Polanco notes. Golden Burrito also has several vegetarian options for meat-free dining. The Veggie Burrito features beans, grilled onions and peppers, lettuce and avocado, at $8.75. There’s also a Bean and Cheese Burrito at $5.50. The Veggie Tacos are made with refried beans, grilled onions and peppers, pico de gallo and avocado, at $8.50. The Veggie Quesadilla includes grilled onions and peppers with beans, at $9.25; there’s also a Cheese Quesadilla at $6.70. The Veggie Bowl features lettuce, beans, green and red peppers, onions, avocado and salsa, at $9.25.
The restaurant is also open for breakfast, and features the Golden Breakfast Burrito, a deep-fried burrito with cheese, scrambled eggs, chorizo, ham or bacon, with a side of home fries and spicy chipotle mayo, at $7.50. Other items include the Huevos a la Mexicana, with scrambled eggs, chopped tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos, with refried beans, at $6; Huevos Rancheros, two fried tortillas topped with over easy eggs and covered in salsa and refried beans, at $6; and Breakfast Tacos, featuring two tacos with flour tortillas, refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese, avocado, and a side of home fries, at $6.50.
Other breakfast choices include Molletes with Scrambled Eggs, sliced bread spread with refried beans, sour cream and queso fresco, at $5; and, Chilaquiles, fried tortilla chips smothered in enchilada sauce with two eggs and refried beans, topped with sour cream and queso fresco, at $8. Any meat may be added either meal for an additional $2.
Golden Burrito is open for business Monday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Take out is also available and the restaurant can be reached at 973-927-4536.