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American & Mexican Grill: Bridging Culture, Flavor Gaps

The new Lafayette Avenue restaurant offers large menu of choices from both north and south of the border.

Businesses that aren't in the Morristown hotspots tend not to get as much media attention as maybe they deserve. We can be as much to blame as others.

While months and months passed, we reported the sporadic progress of South Street businesses like and as they inched toward opening. Meanwhile, on Lafayette Avenue, another business was spending about a year getting its ducks in a row and ready for the public.

American & Mexican Grill ... it's a utilitarian name in a utilitarian shopping center. There are very few frills in the same strip that hosts , , Dunkin Donuts, and the , among other businesses.

Upon entering American & Mexican Grill–which opened last week–you get the same impression. It's not flashy, but it is very clean. A woman working when I came in said the space had been quite the mess when they started, so everything was new.

Looking in the restaurant and at its expansive menu, one gets the impression the owners are looking to bridge the gap between Morristown's Hispanic diners and everyone else. Note the name: American & Mexican. Where a place like its strip mall neighbors seems to cater primarily to a Spanish-speaking population (and ), this new dining destination wants to invite everyone to the table.

The American portion of the menu is represented by items like burgers, club sandwiches, pasta, salads and wraps. The Mexican side features familiar items like tacos, fajitas, burritos and quesadillas, as well as lesser-known choices like Pechuga de Pollo Asada, Carne Tampiquena and a "Mexican Breakfast," where entrees are served with coffee, atole (a traditional Mexican breakfast drink), rice and cream.

There also is a buffet-style counter with various hot items diners can get assembled into a full platter. For $8.99 you get your choice of several meats, rice, black beans and plantains. Always a fan of variety, I went with this choice. Also, it was right there and I was very hungry.

Into my to-go container went some of the tastiest black beans I have had in a while. Salty without being overpowering, full of flavor. The rice was rice. For my entree, I got a portion of stewed chicken thighs, with meat that was tender, juicy and falling off the bone. And, a beef stew, with a flavorful sauce of onions and tomatoes. Add a bottle of Coke Zero, and the whole thing came out to just over $11. That's a pretty good deal.

I felt very comfortable at American & Mexican Grill. It's clean, the woman at the counter was very nice and the food was satisfying. It was definitely some down-home comfort food. It was not flashy, like those attention hogs on the other side of town that seem to get all the headlines, . It did not need to be.

I'm very curious to see how the "American" side to their name tastes. The restaurant has table service and a large menu of choices and options for the chef to get creative with. Which means I'm likely to be back to American & Mexican Grill pretty soon.

Debra Gottsleben August 06, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Will have to try this. Thanks for the review.
Gigi Schwartz August 06, 2012 at 10:37 PM
we tried it for the first time yesterday. My son got a cheeseburger and he loved it. I got the shrimp diablo - very spicy but very delicious. My husband loved his mexican wrap. he said it's like a fajita in a wrap. my mom got the tacos and they were also wonderful. The flan was the best I've ever had. we'll definitely be back. One word of caution: spicy! we asked that my shrimp not be too spicy and they were extremely spicy. a woman at another table couldn't eat her meal because it was way too spicy. so although the food is delicious, be careful if you don't like spicy food.
Motown Resident August 07, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Agreed, this is not in the "hot spot", but certainly worth the trip. Morristown is full of diverse gems that make this town the hub of Morris County. It's a good thing we didn't get the nay sayers complaining about "another restaurant". I suspect it was because it didn't need any board approvals...............................
Lillie August 08, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Agreed with above reviews about the food. The enchiladas verde were delicious as were the beans and rice - a huge portion that kept me full from lunch until late in the evening. The owner and cooks were accomodating to my vegetarianism. They made a steamed veggie filling to special order and it was wonderful! The smiles came free on the side! My coworker and I walked there from South Street and had a lovely chat with the owner. She had the barbecued ribs, rice, beans, and veggies. I'll be back again!! WITH FRIENDS.
Ellen Gervits August 08, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Very good food, I liked my tacos. Good place for people coming from the train station after work and get the take out.
Janet Balbach November 04, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Wonderful meals. Fresh ingredients delivered daily. Omer, and wife Jimena work long and hard to prepare individual meals. Wi-fi available. ALSO. B Y O B! Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Quesadills as well as tostadas are my personal favorites. They specially prepared a bacon egg and cheese on a roll for my husband. Omer and Jimena go above and beyond to please thir customers. Families with children are most welcome. Frequently, you'll find the owners' two young daughters present. Just a lovely, warm, friendly place. My first visit was during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Everyone was charging their devices, using wi- fi and no one was rushed. What a place. We need more people and places like this! Janet Balbach, Morris Twp.
Reviews by Roby November 05, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I have been a loyal patron of this restaurant since it opened. Key features are FREE parking, excellent staff, fair prices, BYOB options, extended hours, diner-like menu, and all foods are made to order so that each is freshly prepared with high quality ingredients. This restaurant is a must to visit and is destined to evolve into a wonderful site for special interest groups, resources for the arts, and a genuine community setting that invites regular friends to keep on coming back!
Arthur E. Perkins Jr. December 14, 2012 at 09:06 PM
American Mexican Grill is across the street from the westbound (lower) side of the Morristown train station. This grill opened recently and they are a welcome addition. I was not interested in the American cuisine menu as I wanted Mexican food (or as close with Mexican American food as a northeastern restaurant can come). There were many good choices. Since I love a good mole and it was on the menu, I chose Pollo con Mole. I was very glad I did. After about 10 minutes to bake some fresh chips and assemble a salsa of tomatoes, onions and spices it arrived and I give that a total thumbs up for a very fine taste. My meal came after another 10 minutes and the plate was huge and full. There was special arroz (rice) with seasoning, refried beans and two large chicken breast with a brown mole sauce on top. The rice was delicious, the refried beans were a bit blah and the chicken was excellent. I know a good mole when I taste it but I am not skilled enough to translate that into the number of ingredients used (when I go back I ill ask the chef). This one was very tasty. I have heard the restaurant is run by a husband and wife team. They deserve lots of business.
Susan December 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM
Where did they go? What happened? They made the best Chicken Parmigiana I've ever had.

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