The name “Monte Alban Mexican Grill,” which references an archeological site in Oaxaca, Mexico, is fitting, considering that it’s a real find. But you won’t have to dig through its vast menu to find something you like; anything you decide on will be good.
Webster is home to the newer of two existing Monte Alban locations. The first Monte Alban opened in Irondequoit, while a third in Penfield is in the works with plans to open later this year.
Transporting you across the border, the dining rooms are embellished with traditional Mexican decór. Snuggle into one of the booths, order yourself a margarita, and nosh on freshly fried tortilla chips and homemade salsa while scanning the menu. The options are endless at Monte Alban and include more than 10 “vegetarianas” selections.
A good place to start is with the house-made soups. Comfortably crowded in a bowl of the tortilla soup are chunks of robust peppers and tomatoes ($6.99). Fresh jalapeño in the pico de gallo garnish kicks it up a couple levels, but is quickly balanced by the mellow sour cream and crispy tortilla strips floating on top. The black bean soup is just as flavorful and also adorned with crunchy tortilla chips, a terrific textural distinction from the creamy beans ($6.99).
Moving onto main dishes, the chile relleno is gently charred on the outside and filled with rice and seasoned ground beef. Like most other lunch combos, it’s paired with ultra-creamy refried pinto beans and mildly spiced rice ($6.49).
Available in numerous varieties, the quesadillas consist of two folded and filled tortillas separated by a bed of fresh shredded lettuce for a nice contrast ($6.99 to $9.99). (Note: This isn’t an appetizer, it’s an entree, and the portion size is generous.)
If you are usually drawn to enchiladas at Mexican restaurants, this is not the time to veer off course. Offering 10 varieties, tender corn tortillas are stuffed with such proteins as shrimp, shredded chicken, ground or shredded beef, then smothered with cheese and a selection of sauces, like traditional enchilada, mole, tomatillo, or green mole ($8.99 to 11.99).
Twenty wallet-friendly lunch specials are offered that will satisfy every mood ($4.50 to $8.99). Select one of 26 combination plates any time of the day with choices that combine all los favoritos (the favorites) like tacos, enchiladas, chalupas, chile poblanos, burritos and more ($8.99).
Amanda Antinore is a Rochester-area freelance writer; she is filling in while Karen Miltner is away.