It’s Cinco de Mayo, and what better way to celebrate Mexican-American heritage than with fresh Mexican food.
An excellent choice is Roxanne’s Taqueria in Stoughton, billed as specializing in Mexican street food. This means tasty, fast offerings that are also easy on the wallet, with nothing costing more than $10. The added bonus at Roxanne’s is that all dishes are made with fresh, local
ingredients prepared by folks who love to feed their friends and neighbors.
Chef-owner Jesse Rosen, 23, of Stoughton and business partner Josh Katz, 29, of Sharon opened Roxanne’s last August. After months of thinking about a name for their venture, these two single guys decided to name it after Katz’s dog, a pitbull.
Rosen developed a passion for cooking while working in restaurants during high school. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York in 2011 and was eager to put his talents to the test. Even though he has never been to Mexico, he says many of Roxanne’s repeat customers are from Mexico and praise his dishes as being as good as home.
“A lot of my friends at [culinary] school were from Mexico, so I was influenced by them,” he said. “But I also like to add my own flair and try some different things.”
While the menu is small — mainly tacos, quesadillas, tortas, and burritos — the combination of different meats and toppings make for infinite flavors and textures. Diners can choose from beef, pulled pork, crumbled sausage, chicken, or tofu. Add white or brown rice, a choice of black beans or pinto (cooked with bacon), and then decide on toppings, which include Chihuahua cheese, lettuce, chopped onions, cilantro, sliced radishes, corn relish, sour cream, and salsa (in mild, medium, or hot). Homemade guacamole can be added to any dish for an extra $1.90.
We found all the meats tender and nicely seasoned, the toppings bright and fresh. Rosen
takes pride in providing locally sourced ingredients, such as produce from Russo’s of Watertown and seafood from Captain Marden’s of Wellesley.
To order, customers line up along a counter where all your options are in view behind a glass partition. You can watch as employees assemble your meal to your specification; the whole process takes practically no time.
Rosen said burritos are the top seller and has a number of promotions to satisfy fans. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, burritos will be $3 today. If you miss out on this deal, two burritos for the price of one will be offered on Wednesdays this month. Also, flash your student ID to get a burrito for $5.50. And every Saturday, buy one burrito and get the second at half-price. Specials are posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
The burritos ($6.45 to $7.45, depending on the choice of meat) are overstuffed in 12-inch flour tortillas made by a Canton company. Each burrito is so large that it can easily satisfy a hungry teenager.
Those with smaller appetites should try tacos ($2.35 to $2.75), made with 6-inch soft corn tortillas supplied by a Brockton bakery. Not a fan of corn toritillas? You can opt for lettuce wraps. Even better is Taco Tuesdays, when tacos cost only $1 each. Mix and match, and make your mouth happy.
Tortas are hearty sandwiches served on bolillo rolls with pinto beans, cheese, avocado, lettuce, salsa, and jalapeno sauce. The chorizo and scrambled egg version ($6.45) made for a sunny dinner and was quickly devoured.
The Sonoran Dog ($5.85) — bacon-wrapped hot dog served with pinto beans, pico de gallo, jalapeno sauce, mayonnaise, and yellow mustard on a bolillo roll — is a riot of flavors, pleasing to both eye and palate.
Rosen also offers a daily seafood special, so be sure to inquire what’s on the menu that day. A swordfish taco ($4.50) was tender marinated swordfish enhanced by cool salsa and lettuce. Even more sublime was a soft-shell crab bowl ($10), a perfectly fried crab on a bed of rice and beans topped with tomatoes, corn relish, onions, cilantro, and tomatillo sauce. The warm, juicy sweetness of the crab was complemented by the creaminess of the pinto beans and cool crunch of corn and onions. The rice absorbed all the juices, and my teenagers fought over the little I couldn’t finish.
Customers who eat in the 16-seat, 1,400-square-feet restaurant can wash down their meal with juices or sodas available from coolers near the cash register. Also available are Jarritos Mexican sodas ($2 each) in flavors such as grapefruit, tamarind, and pineapple.
When I expressed disappointment that Roxanne’s doesn’t offer Mexican desserts, Rosen had good news. “We got a lot busier quicker than we expected,” he said, “so we’re in the process of remodeling the kitchen, putting in more appliances, such as a freezer, and then we can start doing desserts.”
Fast, tasty, affordable meals made with fresh, local ingredients. Roxanne’s delivers on all counts.Wendy Chow can be reached at wchow@globe .com.