235 N. 1st Street, Montrose, 970/240-2721
Ah Chihuahua! recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and there was plenty to celebrate. The Mexican restaurant with an eye toward fresh seafood dishes had just expanded its space and opened a bar. To go along with that, it had finally received its long-awaited liquor license. It was finally time for a margarita, or a cerveza with a squeeze of lime.
Authentic and flavorful dishes, fast and friendly service, drinks, seafood, and a lunch special that is growing in popularity have all made Ah Chihuahua, along with 2 Rascals Brewing Co., one of the cornerstones of the LoMo area in Montrose. On any given night, or lunch hour, scores of families fill the booths in the now-roomier dining room, enjoying their Mexican favorites while sipping fresh margaritas or simply a tall horchata.
For lunch, Ah Chihuahua! offers 13 dishes to choose from on its express lunch menu, available weekdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The burrito de deshebrada con chile Colorado (shredded beef with red chili) was full of richness. The chicken enchiladas, smothered in green chili, packed a punch underneath a thick layer of melted cheese.
The express lunch special includes taco plates, enchilada plates, and burrito plates. For those who want to make it their own way, there are platters, such as pork with green chili; pork with red chili; chicken with cream, green chili and corn; and ground beef with green chili. The lunch platters are served with beans and rice and two tortillas.
While selecting one dish from the 13 offered during the lunch hour is a tough enough decision, the real dilemma comes when you must choose from a handful of desserts that accompany your lunch. On a recent weekday, the tres leches was a special. Ask for it. If they don’t have it, try the chocoflan – a chocolate cake and custard baked in the same pan. Both were out of this world. I’m sure the tiramisu Mexicano, the Mexican pudding or three-cheese cake are all just as good.
Did I mention the price of the express lunch menu? Lunch off the express menu, with dessert, is just $6.99. Our lunch for two, which included a tall horchata and an iced tea, came to just $20. A meal for two with that kind of flavor is hard to come by these days for just $20.
If you’re into seafood, then dinner at Ah Chihuahua! is where it makes its mark. Instead of the boring chips, salsa and guacamole starter (although their salsa, both kinds, is addictive) take it a step further and share a vuelve a la vida – a shrimp, octopus and fresh oyster cocktail ($9 small, $14.50 large).
There are plenty of Mexican soups to choose from including shrimp ($12.50), fish ($10.50) and one that is made with seemingly all parts of the ocean, including fish, octopus, clams, shrimp, and snow crab legs ($13.99).
Mexican restaurants throughout the region all seem to serve some form of camarones a la diabla. Seeking pain, I used to search out the hottest, spiciest version of this shrimp dish in the region. Some offer just heat and no flavor, others offer both. That can be said of the camarones a la diabla served at Ah Chihuahua!, where its special tomato sauce is sautéed with shrimp, onion, celery and chile de arbol ($12.50). At first, you may think that the spice is missing, but by the end of the dish, it’s brazenly apparent. The pescado a la diabla ($11.50) was equally fiery and satisfying.
Other shrimp dishes worth trying include the camarones Ah Chihuahua ($12.50), a unique combination of shelled or peeled shrimp (shelled is recommended) sautéed in butter with jalapenos, green onion, garlic and a spices. Camarones rancheros ($12.50) is made with sautéed shrimp in a tomato and jalapeno sauce; for those looking for less spice, you can order the camarones simply sautéed in butter and fresh garlic ($12.50).
If fish is your thing, most of these dishes are available with a tilapia fillet, priced at $11.50.
Of course, there are a host of Mexican favorites to choose from, as well, from beef and chicken dishes (try the pechugas borrachas – grilled chicken breast topped with tequila-lime sauce with bacon and melted cheese, $11.50). There are tacos, gorditas, tortas, burritos and enchiladas. For all you cheese-enchilada heads out there, the ones served here ($7) are worth trying. The red sauce is what you want.
Of course, you can't forget dessert at Ah Chihuahua! Seriously.
“Do you have the tres leches cake today?”
TACOS AND BEER: On Mondays, just down the street from Ah Chihuahua!, at 2 Rascals Brewing Co. grab $3 beers and $1 tacos from Ah Chihuahua! A match made in heaven.
NEW NIGHTLIFE: With the new bar open (and a dance floor), check in regularly at Ah Chihuahua’s Facebook page for upcoming DJs and music (facebook.com/ahchihuahuamexicanrestaurant).
Open Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.