Chris’ Restaurant is a small, family-owned business, offering a mix of Latin, Mexican, and Salvadorian style food in an informal sit-down setting. Both traditional and Spanish breakfasts are offered all day. You get a lot of flavorful food for your money, here. Put simply, it’s one of my new favorites.
I was hesitant at first, mostly because the location has a history of failed restaurants (pizza, Mexican, etc) dating back to the late 90′s. But after a hearty recommendation from Damien, I figured I’ve give it a try. Ever since my personal ban of Rivera’s (which was tough, given their tasty cuisine), I had been without a go-to Mexican restaurant in the Severna Park area. Not anymore.
Whenever trying a new restaurant, I start with something familiar and simple. I want to see how the kitchen is going to take a few ingredients and put their unique spin on them. Nothing is worse than waiting for a complicated dish only to find that you don’t care for it at all, so I opted for a chicken burrito.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It isn’t a proper experience unless complimentary chips and salsa are provided. I don’t care about authenticity here, we’re accustomed to munching while we peruse the menu. Given that most Mexican menus have more or less the same set of staples, we take longer to look at it than we would other types of restaurants, probably because we’re searching to see if there’s anything new or unique offered. The irony here is that even if you see something unusual after scouring each item’s description, you’re likely to order your standby favorite.
A basket of warm chips were provided, along with cups of curtido and salsa. Thin and crunchy chips, unsalted. The salsa was thin like you might find at Chevys, but far more smoky and spicy.
As I waited for food to be prepared, a nearby couple sipped their horchata and conversed with the server in Spanish.
I ordered a Pork Pupusa ($1.75) to get started, a traditional Salvadoran dish quite suitable for snacking. Effectively a tortilla pancake stuffed with your choice of filling and seared on the grill, the meat was well flavored without overpowering the tortilla (which is more than just a delivery device, here). It was served with a cup of curtido and an orange-colored sweet tomato sauce, both tasty.
The Chicken Burrito ($7.99) was enormous, packed with lots of shredded chicken along with rice and beans. The chicken was moist, rice soft, beans mellow. You’ll definitely need a fork and knife to handle this, especially considering that the whole thing was covered in a light flavorful mole and shredded cheese. Lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and sour cream were served on the side.
The exterior of Chris’ isn’t much to look at, nor does the front signage give much away. Set in a small block of businesses along the side of Ritchie Highway (adjacent to the Donut Shack), there’s a walk-up counter with a view into the kitchen. A small sign advises customers that they can bring in their own beer/wine, so long as the 2/person limit is observed. A dozen or so two- and four-tops are nestled back along the depth of the building. Cultural artifacts and flags adorn the walls and a small television is broadcasting news in Spanish.
As usual, delicious meals are freely found right around the corner without frills or fanfare.