A Festival of Flavors

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Flag of United States  , Arkansas
Friday, July 15, 2011

Rolando's Nuevo Latino Restaurante - A Festival of Extraordinary Flavors

Do you ever think when you are eating at some Mexican restaurants they are serving you day old T.V. dinners? Yet you continue to return to the same establishment again and again, hoping things will be at best, ordinary.  Well if that's the case, I’ve found a place that will definitely dissipate your dining doldrums.  

You don’t have to venture to the seashores of Old Mexico to find delicious, authentic Latino cuisine.  Rolando’s Nuevo Latino Restuarante, located on the corner of Garrison Avenue and 2nd Street in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, will delight your senses as soon as you enter this cozy establishment.  Their inviting little restaurante bustles with an intoxicating spirit. Rolando’s brilliant and masterful use of color and décor is a mere preview of the bold and exciting flavors that owners Sherri and Rolando Cuzco masterfully infuse into their mouth watering Latino cuisine.

Vividly colored poncho patterned tablecloths adorn the tables, and yet the exclamation of color is still little competition for the food that graces them.  At the risk of sounding like a girl, the food is almost too pretty to eat.

Dining at Rolando’s hosts a festival of flavors and a feast for the eyes as well.  On my trip to this casa extraordinario, I relied on my friend Brittney Lee, Digital Marketing Manager for Smith Auto Group, to help me discern whether this Latino Restaurante was the real deal.  Brittney is a bit of a world traveler and I knew she would be perfect for the task at hand. Trusting her sophisticated palate to determine an unbiased opinion of Rolando’s cuisine, we set out to satiate the hungry beasts within.

We began our quest with a couple of Rolando’s 'Entradas’, a beautiful and generous amount of guacamole dip with fresh tortillas.  We determined this tasty dish a winner and ventured on to an accompanying little number called the Shrimp Quesadilla.  Flour tortillas blanketed sautéed shrimp, cheese and vegetables and were adorned with tomatillo sour cream sauce, cilantro and parsley.  I know the word awesome is completely overused, but nonetheless, this ‘entrada’ was AWESOME.

Yes, there’s more!  The Plato de Adventura included a wonderful chicken enchilada, quesadilla with tomatillo sour cream sauce, more guacamole, (you can never have too much guacamole), and a cornhusk wrapped tamale.  All of this was served with black beans and rice.  This lunch plate deserved a blue ribbon in my book.

Brittney opted for the Fish Tacos, which were the ‘especial del dia’, the daily special.  The Tacos de Pescado was a big hit with Brittney, and she later confessed, this wasn’t her first fish taco experience and she was an expert.

One of the most surprising elements of this charming Latino Restaurante was another version of one of my favorite foods, fish.  It was my pleasure to partake of a wonderful dish called Pescado de Mesias.  The explosion of flavor in their Tilapia preparation was like a mariachi band playing in my mouth.  The Tilapia, a mild white fish, was grilled and topped with a tequila and caper sauce.  The grilling added a slightly crusty texture and the tequila and caper sauce lent the perfect zest.  WOW!  Mucho gusto!

Nearly Siesta ready, the only thing left to complete our Latino dining experience was sweets for the sweet.  Ahh yes, Rolando’s Bananas, also known as heaven in a bowl.  This delectable dish of bananas, cinnamon, rum and ice cream was brought over from Ecuador, and heaven in a bowl is a divine description.

If chocolate is more to your liking, it doesn’t get much more chocolaty than their Molten Chocolate Lava Cake.  This warm single serving dark chocolate cake flooded with a rich chocolate, molten lava center, is a perfect compliment to the cold and creamy marbled ice cream it is served with.

The only thing needed to perfect this day was a Sombrero to cover my eyes and a relaxing afternoon siesta.  An Old Mexico seashore would be nice, my toes in the sand, waves caressing the shoreline, and a little George Strait or Kenny Chesney to lull me into my siesta.  Hasta la vista amigos.  Oh well, if you’re not that lucky, try the next best thing, Rolando’s Nuevo Latino Restaurante.

Rolando’s Heavenly Bananas Slice a generous amount of bananas.  Saute’ in butter.  Add cinnamon and sugar to taste. Add rum to your liking and flambé.  Serve over vanilla ice cream. 
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