296 E. 17th Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Every neighborhood has one. A local Mexican restaurant that has been around for decades. A restaurant where kids have come with parents, and then they have brought their own kids with them to experience the restaurant for themselves. The kind of place that has a fifteen minute wait on a Friday night, but you do not mind waiting because you know you are going to have a great meal. In Costa Mesa, this kind of place is called Mi Casa.
Mi Casa has been around since 1972. The restaurant has pretty much stayed the same today as it was back in the 70's. A lot of the waitresses have been here from the beginning, learning their customers names and becoming an extended member of the family. The restaurant, now in their third generation owned by the same family, has been the host to presidents, (George W. Bush), singers, (Barbara Streisand), sports stars, (Mickey Mantle), and many more celebrities. So let's see what has brought all the stars to this Costa Mesa restaurant.
We made two trips to Mi Casa. Here is a shot of the chips and salsa. I really like their chips, but the salsa is very watery. I like a little more substance to my salsa. The flavor was still okay without the hunks, but it would have been better with some tomato and onion in there.
This heaping plate of food is the Large Mexican Pizza. The menu says that this feeds two to three people, but I almost finished this all by myself. You have your choice of having this with shredded beef, chicken, chili verde, or a combination of all three, so of course I went with all three. The best meat out of the three was the pork chili verde. Seasoned really well and very tender, I will skip the chicken and beef next time and just get the chili verde. The rest of this dish contained almost everything in their kitchen, beans, green chiles, olives, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, guacamole, and lots of cheese. The tortilla that all of this was served on was lost here, but the dish still tasted good.
Katie's first meal here was Sal's Shrimp Burrito. Of course this featured shrimp, but it also had pinto beans, rice, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese, and avocado sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla. Katie liked that this burrito was packed with shrimp, and she also thought this had a little heat to it. She felt that the beans were great, but the rice was average. Overall she was very pleased with her dinner.
Our second trip to Mi Casa we went with Kevin and Sara. Sara ordered a Chicken Taco with a side of rice. She loved the rice, calling it, "the best Mexican style rice she has ever had in a restaurant." Her praise ended there, because she felt that the chicken in the taco was very dry.
Kevin had the Flautas Rancheras, one with chicken and the other with beef. Like Sara's taco, the chicken flauta was dry. The beef was better, but needed to be cut up in smaller chunks. Kevin said that the beans and rice were above average. Kevin really liked the cheese that was added to the top of the beans.
On Katie's second trip to Mi Casa she settled on the Grilled Mahi Tacos. These tacos were served with a creamy avocado sauce, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, and queso fresco cheese. I am not a wimp when it comes to heat, but this really packed a punch when it came to spice. Katie would get this again, but she was disappointed that the tortilla gave way under the weight of its contents.
I went big time for my second meal at Mi Casa, with a Three Item Combination Plate. For my three items I chose the Pork Tamale, Shredded Beef Taco, and the Cheese Enchilada. I agree with Kevin, the shredded beef needed to be chopped up more. One bite and all the meat came out of the taco. The tamale was filled with pork, and not dry like a lot of tamales can be. The enchilada was the best thing on the plate. I really liked the sauce, and of course there was no shortage of cheese here. The rice was just okay for me. I liked the refried beans better. I did manage to finish this meal, but I was stuffed afterwards.
Mi Casa is a comfortable restaurant. They are very consistent. The prices might be a little on the high side, but you will probably have leftovers for lunch the next day. The waitresses know what they are doing here, but they may get distracted during busier times. The food is not going to blow your socks off. It is good, but not great. They try to make up for it by adding copious amounts of cheese on everything, and that can never be a bad thing.
So out of five water pitchers, (because they have them on the tables), five being best to zero being worst, Mi Casa gets 2.5 water pitchers.
For more information about Mi Casa, check them out here: http://micasa1.com/