Andrade's Mexican Restaurant 

... then the other

If there's one thing I can eat every day it is food from south of the border. Weaned on Tex-Mex and New Mexican, two slightly north-of-the-border cuisines, I have learned to appreciate the variances from all Central and South American fares. When done right, it can be exquisite. When done poorly, it can still be delicious.

I had been to Andrade's on Broadway Avenue and when assigned to try their new location in Meridian I knew could expect greatness, if we could find it. The sign is clearly visible eastbound on Fairview, but one might miss it going west. But after a U-turn, we pulled in and readied our palates.

A quick seat and a basket of warmed chips were followed by a couple of beers, a chori queso, fish tacos, a small dinner salad (which turned out to be much bigger than expected) and the Especial de Javier.

Their queso isn't made with your typical runny cheese. That sounds bad, but it's hard to find the right adjective ... liquid, watery-heck, you know what I mean. But Andrade's queso is from real, hard cheese, melted and mixed with chorizo and is all good. It is more of a meat dip­-like melted brie, a welcome change from what you normally get in Americanized Mexican restaurants. The Especial was three skirt steak tacos with melted cheese and an assortment of goodies, rolled up like a taco and eaten with your hands ... how else?

If that was all there was, I would have been happy. But Andrade's goes one step further and offers an assortment of varying sauces of varying heats, colors and consistencies to spice up your meal. I piled on an indiscrete-looking orange puree sauce and before you could shout, "Aye Chihuahua!" my scalp was sweating. The curse of the habanero struck again! It would have been nice to have little signs or descriptions on the sauces for the curious. I could have asked the waiter but I was too busy dealing with a mouth full of fire-not that I minded drinking another beer.

While out of my normal driving pattern, as the Broadway Andrade's is for Meridian residents, I found little difference between the two. Meridian residents now have my stamp of approval and an exquisite Mexican restaurant of their own.

-Bingo Barnes appreciates good food at a fair price.

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