Fun for la familia

. March 7, 2013.
ff.chipsNsalsa

Mi Zarape
7025 E. Michigan Ave.
Saline, MI 48176
Phone: 734-470-6638
Fax: 734-470-6639
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am – 10pm
Fri 11am – 10:30pm
Sat 12pm – 10:30pm
Sun noon – 9:30pm

“This is a fancy restaurant,” my 6-
year-old son said. Our family of four
had just arrived at Mi Zarape, a new
Mexican restaurant in Saline.

A 6-year-old might think Mi Zarape
is fancy, but I would call it cheery and
casual. After all, the restaurant opened
last fall in a spot previously occupied by
a diner. Tables and booths fill the large
eating space. The walls are spongepainted
vivid colors and are decorated
with sombreros and zarapes, wraps that
are similar to ponchos. There are even a
couple of TVs interspersed around the
room.

We received a basket of chips and two
dishes of salsa as soon as we sat down.
The salsa, which the server said was
homemade by Mi Zarape, was fresh and
flavorful, but not too spicy. I could taste
tomatoes, cilantro, onions and peppers.

I will vouch for the freshness of the
tortilla chips. I heard them crunch and
crackle in my son’s mouth all night long,
even with his mouth closed. (Ok, maybe
he didn’t chew with his mouth closed the
whole time, but he should have!)

There were 8 choices on the children’s
menu, some Mexican and some not. My
kids selected chicken nuggets and a corn
dog, both served with fries. Later when I
asked how their dinner was, my loquacious
3-year-old daughter said, “Good.”

Meanwhile, my 6-year-old declared,
“I love Mexican corn dogs!”

Their fries were served with ketchup
packets, rather than a bottle of ketchup,
which enthralled my kids. They loved
squeezing the ketchup out. I wonder if
putting broccoli in packets has the same
effect?

There were a bevy of dinner choices
from which my husband and I could
choose: quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos,
tacos, fajitas, salads, and house specials
like Carnitas (deep fried pork tips) and
Chilaquiles Mexicanos (chips covered
with special sauce, chicken and cheese).
I selected the Enchiladas Supremas with
four different enchiladas: cheese, chicken,
bean, and beef.

The chicken, my favorite, was
laced with chiles. The enchilada sauce
did not overwhelm and was mild at
times, piquant at others. I could taste
the corn in the corn tortillas while iceberg
lettuce provided a nice crunch with
each bite. I also enjoyed the cheese enchilada,
with its mild Oaxaca cheese
reminiscent of jack cheese.

My husband got the Fajitas Texanas,
fajita-style shrimp, chicken, and
beef with onions, peppers and tomatoes
served with tortillas, beans, rice,
sour cream and guacamole salad. The
plate arrived sizzling. He liked the flavors
of the different meats
and his sides of beans, rice,
and sour cream. The guacamole
salad was okay but
needed stronger avocado
flavor. His portion of fajitas
was so large he ended
up taking home about one
third of it for the next day’s
lunch.

Loyal readers of Food
Fight know my family
usually shoves down
something sweet for dessert,
so this may come as a
shock: we were too full. It’s
not that the sopapillas, flan,
or fried ice cream didn’t look
good. We simply ate one too
many chips at the beginning
of our meal.

I am not surprised that
the restaurant was
busy with families, couples,
and friends eating out
that Saturday night. With its casual and
cheery interior, reasonable prices, and
good food, Mi Zarape is a bright spot on
a gray Michigan evening.

THE SHORT COURSE
Kid-friendly
Yes
To avoid wait Friday and Saturday night dinners are busiest, but the wait shouldn’t be too long, if at all
Noise level Moderate
Bathroom amenities Standard; changing table in women’s
High chairs Yes
Got milk Yes
Kids’ menu Yes
Anything healthy for kids Choose rice and beans or vegetarian options
Food allergy concerns It was difficult communicating with staff, both in person and over the phone, about allergy questions.
I was told no peanuts are used, but parents are urged to follow-up themselves.
 

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer who lives in Saline.