As part of the Taste of Manchester 2015 Marketing Committee, Amy has volunteered to write short features on the participating restaurants and share them via our blog here.This year's Taste of Manchester will be held on Tuesday, May 12th from 5:30 to 9 p.m. See the TOM webpage, Facebook page, or Twitter @TastyTownCT (#TOMCT2015) for more information.
When you hear “La Bamba,” no doubt the traditional Mexican folk song popularized by Ritchie Valens strikes up in your brain. Now you can visit La Bamba, the Mexican restaurant that opened recently on Hartford Road. And you can sample their food at this year's Taste of Manchester, taking place on Tuesday, May 12th.
The cheerful décor is a refreshing change from the dark bar that was once in this location. Mismatched chairs in vivid hues have symbols of suns, maracas, and cacti in their backs. Sombreros decorate the brightly-colored walls. The bar serves various flavors of Jarrito sodas, made in Mexico and sweetened with real sugar. They have not yet received their liquor license, so for now, it’s BYOB (with no corkage fee).
To start there are warm, crisp, tortilla chips served with zippy fresh salsa. A nearly-nuclear hot sauce sits on each table; use sparingly if you dare. The first page of the menu lists appetizers, salads, quesadillas and chimichangas. Most are convincingly Mexican (cheese dips, guacamole, tostadas) and worth a try. Chunks of grilled chicken float in the uber-creamy “White Cheese Dip” that has hints of allspice, or perhaps nutmeg. Whatever it is, it is a highly recommended starter.
Page two offers a variety of tacos made with beef and/or pork, tortas Mexicanos (sandwiches), and a couple of out-of-place pasta dishes. Flip past these to the back to find two categories of entrees -- carnes and mariscos. Carnes feature steak and chicken in a variety of preparations. There are fajitas, enchiladas, and burritos for those who delight in the ordinary. However, the mole sauce at La Bamba is seductive – deep and dark with hints of chocolate, coffee and smoky, spicy chile peppers. Try it drizzled over chicken and rice (the “Mole Veracruzano”) or in the tortilla-wrapped chicken Enmoladas. Seafood plates are mariscos, including the house special “La Bamba,” a marvelous mix of lobster, shellfish and tilapia served with a chipotle-and-tequila-infused cream sauce. Desserts include flan, ice cream and the enticing Tres Leches cake, a subtly-sweet milk-drenched cake.
The service here is friendly and welcoming, and, if you wisely choose the traditional Mexican fare, the food is remarkably delicious. Prices for most items are in the $12-$20 range. La Bamba is participating in this year's Taste of Manchester on May 12th, and is located at 485 Hartford Road. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and their phone number is 860.474.5955.They do not have a website, but can be found on Facebook.