Friday, October 14, 2011

TOKYO: Frijoles (Mexican) フリホーレス03-6447-1433

Address: 東京都港区六本木6-6-9ピラミデ1階.  

Map:  Scroll down to the bottom.

Nondescript window of Frijoles in Roppongi

Open:  11 am to 10 pm.  Closed on the second Sunday of every month.

This was the first time I visited Frijoles in Roppongi, but I actually found this restaurant last year at their Azabu-Juban location.  At that time, I was thrilled with their interpretation of Mexican food, their all-English menu, and their delicious guacamole.  I recommended the Azabu-Juban site to anyone who told me they were going to Tokyo.  In retrospect, I think I was just a little too happy with finding something that was reminiscent of home.

This time, I wanted to be more judgmental rather than romanticizing this restaurant.

I ordered the three tacos:  two steak and one carnitas (pork).  I wanted to order the burrito, but I didn't like the fact that the rice inside was white rice with lime and cilantro.   White rice in Mexican food?   Adding cilantro makes it Mexican?  That’s like adding naan (pizza, bratwurst, etc.) to white rice and calling it Indian (Italian, German, etc.) cuisine. 

Also, the pinto beans had bacon bits!  Not my momma’s cooking.  That being said, my wife ate the vegetarian burrito and was quite pleased with it (BTW, my wife is not Mexican). 

The tacos were served on flour tortillas, breaking from the traditional corn tortillas, but since they were tasty I really didn’t have a problem with that (also, I prefer flour to corn tortillas).  

Guacamole, burrito, and tacos!
I requested the medium grade, green chili tomatillo salsa on two of my tacos.  This salsa was good with a bit of a kick to it.  On the third taco I went with the hot red arbol salsa.  I’ve never been much of a chili eater but I’ve noticed that many foods labeled “hot” or “spicy” in Japan don’t quite live up to their names.  Boy, was I proven wrong!  A true chili-eater won’t have a problem with this salsa.  I did.  It was hot!

All in all, the food was good!  Very good!  And I look forward to coming back here again, if I’m in the neighborhood.  If it were in Sendai I would probably be eating here quite often and it would make my “Recommended” list.  Will I take a special trip out of my way to eat here next time I’m in Tokyo?  Probably not.

***UPDATE OCT. 15, 2011:  Less than twenty-four hours after my original post of Frijoles I talked to my mother about this restaurant's food preparation.  I told her, "Can you believe that they served rice with cilantro and called it Mexican food?"  Her reply was "Yes, I've seen a lot of Mexican cooking shows lately where they are doing that."  Strike one.  I then tried with "Well, still, they put bacon bits in their beans!"  Mom said, "Most of the family makes their beans with bacon strips in it.   I'm about the only one who doesn't."  Strike two.  I have one more strike left.  But in my defense on the beans, I was such a picky eater as a kid that I wouldn't even eat my mother's beans.  It wasn't until I became an adult that I would eat refried beans, and I usually prefer the canned beans to homemade.  And since I was such a picky eater, I would rarely eat at someone else's house, so I wasn't exposed to the different styles of Mexican cooking. 

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