210603SABROSA

Helene Ramsdell, a member of The Gazette’s restaurant review team The Four Dishes, ordered this shrimp fajita burrito meal as part of a carryout order from Sabrosa Tex-Mex in Roscoe, Illinois. Along with whole shrimp pieces, the dish featured grilled, seasoned onions and peppers, rice, guacamole and refried beans.

ROSCOE, ILL.

On a drizzly Saturday afternoon, I made a quick trip down Interstate 90/39 to Roscoe to check out Sabrosa Tex-Mex—a fantastic, veteran-owned Mexican restaurant with somewhat mediocre surroundings.

Set in a strip mall with a connecting door to an establishment where you can play slot machines, Sabrosa is a good place to grab great food. I might never have discovered it if it hadn’t been highly recommended, but I’m so glad I did.

Sabrosa’s philosophy is simple: They cook as if you were coming to one of their homes for a meal. Does it get any better than that?

Painted in terra cotta earth tones with a tiled floor and minimal decorations on the wall, the restaurant feels welcoming and is neat and clean. While still offering carryout, the restaurant also is now allowing inside seating, as well. There also is a separate catering menu.

There are some unique items on the menu, and the arrachera steak meal ($13.25) caught my eye.

It is made with skirt steak, pounded thin so, of course, it was well done. The additional spices made the meat fantastic, and it was almost like a big piece of spicy jerky. I just picked it up whole and chomped away.

Most meals at Sabrosa are served with rice and refried beans or with spicy pinto beans. The rice was light and flavorful, and as my other side, I chose the creamy, mild refried beans. Guacamole is always a treat, so I added an individual portion for $1.

I also couldn’t resist a sweet treat and got a bag of bunuelos ($4.95) to munch on the way home, but there were still plenty to share. The bunuelos were were warm, lightly coated in cinnamon and heavy on the powdered sugar.

Nikki ordered one of the combo meals ($10.50), picking one that featured two tamales, one beef taco with rice and spicy pintos. She also added a small side portion of guacamole for $3.25.

Sabrosa makes tamales with mild chicken or spicy pork filling, so Nikki chose the chicken. The tamales had the earthy taste of masa meal and were stuffed with shredded chicken in a savory red sauce.

Nikki ordered her taco on a soft corn tortilla, and it came with lettuce, tomato and crumbled queso. She later realized she could have requested the traditional option with cilantro and onion, which she likes, but the taco still was delicious as-is.

On the day we ordered takeout, Jennifer felt ravenous. She chose the chicken enchiladas ($9.50), which featured three good-sized corn tortillas. The tortillas seemed to have a more prominent corn flavor than most, which she enjoyed, and they were bursting at the seams with moist, finely chopped chicken, cilantro and onions. All were carefully rolled and covered in cheese.

The dish also came with three sauce selections: hot red, mild green or spicy ranchero. Jennifer opted for the mild green.

Since her meal appeared quite monochromatic, Jennifer added some hot sauce mainly for color—but it also provided a bit of added zing. The dish’s overall flavor certainly was authentic, but as she ate, she detected two small chicken bone fragments in her food. That was disappointing.

Helene made a separate trip to Sabrosa and ordered the small shrimp fajita burrito meal ($10.50) and horchata ($1.95). It was hot the day she went down, so the horchata was a welcomed reprieve from the weather. The cool drink was refreshing, sweet and cinnamony.

The burrito, which was wrapped in a thin flour tortilla, was filled with creamy refried beans and rice along with decent-sized whole shrimp, which were grilled and nicely seasoned. The onions and green bell peppers were also grilled to further enhance their flavors.

A touch of creamy Chihuahua cheese and sour cream added moisture to the fajita, and the tomatoes and shredded lettuce rounded out the flavors. Helene said it was a very satisfying meal.

Helene also tried the bunuelos and agreed they were amazing. The taste was a cross between a powdered sugar almond cookie and a churro you get at the fair—crunchy with just the right amount of sweetness.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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