When discussion of the best authentic Mexican food offerings in Western New York arises, you are bound to hear about Valle of Mexico in South Buffalo, El Palenque in Amherst and maybe Blasdell's El Canelo.
Here is a new, and perhaps unsuspecting, one to add to that list: Fiesta Bamba in Springville.
A recent visit to the Southtowns community convinced me. The restaurant is easy enough to get to, just a left then quick right off the southbound Route 219 exit for Springville.
Owner and chef Jeyo Fuentes and his wife, Ruth, opened the restaurant a little more than a year ago. Fuentes, a native of Mexico City who moved to the United States in 1989, previously owned and operated a restaurant in North Carolina for about 10 years.
Let's get to it.
The grande especial lives up to its billing. Good luck leaving without leftovers in tow.
Start with the chile relleno (pictured directly above and just below headline). I have seen prettier, but I cannot say I have tasted better. The Anaheim pepper is mild, so no worries about setting your mouth on fire. Normally I prefer some kick, but it went down just right with the ground beef perfectly complementing the pepper. Also included on the first plate is a chalupa and beef taco, which were so moist a fork was needed.
You can order chile relleno as a side ($3.25) or a la carte (two for $6.50).
The second plate rounds out the $12.49 meal, but has no standout component like the first. The beans and rice hardly differentiate themselves from what other Mexican restaurants offer, but you are not ordering the grande especial for those sides, anyway.
Order the nachos Texanos ($10.99) as your meal or get an order for the table as an appetizer. The cheese is nicely melted on the grilled shrimp, steak and chicken -- which are piled onto the tortillas, but not excessively.
Of course, you may be content with the traditional complimentary tortillas and salsa. One Springville resident raves about the salsa and I was not disappointed. I discount the "judge a Mexican restaurant by its salsa" adage, but the salsa was noteworthy and had that spiciness I wanted.
Order off the lunch menu till 3 p.m. weekdays. There are plenty of smaller plates to choose from, including the lunch fajita quesadilla ($7.95). You have the choice of steak or chicken and also get a salad -- lettuce topped with guacamole and sour cream -- with the beans and rice.
For dessert, crispness was my takeaway from the apple chimichanga ($3.50) and that is a good thing. It is accompanied by fried ice cream, which can be ordered as a full dessert for $2.99.
The menu is packed with five pages of options, including an alcohol list. Dos Equis is on tap ($8.25 pitcher), while bottle options ($3.95) include Bohemia, Corona, Dos Equis, Modela Especial, Negra Modela, Pacifico and Tecate. Standard beers are also available in draft ($7.15 pitcher) and bottle ($3.10).
You also have the option to get margaritas by the pitcher ($16.99).
Story topics: Fiesta Bamba