May 23, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Thursday, 09 April 2009 12:38
Before joining with J.C. Short to open Arturo’s, an authentic Mexican restaurant in Bethel, Arturo Ortega had worked as a manager in restaurants for 20 years.
Originally from Mexico City, he came to the United States in 1985. He knew chef Manuel Aguilar and his family while living in Mexico and they worked together in a restaurant in New Milford.
Family members involved in the business are Arturo’s sister, Silvia Olson, who is manager/bartender and makes great Sangria, and Arturo’s father, Arturo Ortega, Sr., one of the mariachi musicians performing weekly. Chef Aguilar attended culinary school in Mexico and, in addition to his own recipes, includes the Ortega family’s tried-and-true recipes. The large menu encompasses every aspect of Mexican foods.
There’s no lack of space at this new restaurant. Three store fronts in the Mountain Laurel Plaza in Stony Hill were renovated to create the main dining room, function room and Cantina, open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, where Karaoke takes place on Thursday evenings. Seating for 100 is easily accommodated in the dining rooms and cantina, the staff is well trained, and margaritas are the most popular drink. J.C. Short provides DJ spinning, R & B and hip hop music on Friday and Saturday evenings. Recorded Mexican music is offered when live entertainment is not available.
During a tableside visit, Arturo Ortega said he was surprised how savvy Americans were about Mexican food, and for those who are not, his staff is prepared to assist in menu selection. Upon request, spicy dishes will be adjusted.
Complimentary warm nachos and salsa are served. A generous appetizer menu offers a Rotana Platter, with quesadillas, nachos, finger tacos and chicken wings served with guacamole and sour cream; Aguacate Acapulco, half an avocado filled with sautéed shrimp in a home-style sauce of sour cream and tomatoes; and steak salad with mixed lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, poblano peppers, mushrooms, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Black bean, tortilla and chicken soup ($3.50) all share the limelight at Arturo’s, and there’s a refreshing Big Taco salad ($8.95), with beef or chicken.
Popular enchiladas ($12.95) are Mole enchiladas; Zuizas and Pipian, chicken, beef or cheese enchiladas topped with a tomatillo or pumpkin seed sauce. Fajitas ($13.95 to $16.95) are served with sour cream, pico de gallo, rice, beans and flour tortillas.
Favorites among the 36 entrees ($12.95 to $17.95), are Pollo Don Pedro, chicken marinated in beer, topped with mushrooms and tomatoes; Puerco Chipotle, pork marinated in a chipotle sauce with rice; Camaron Poblano, jumbo shrimp sautéed with wine and poblano sauce; and Barbeque Ribs, marinated in ancho peppers, with rice. My generous and tasty dish was Camaron Portabella, jumbo shrimp sautéed with portabella mushrooms, onions, garlic and Mexican sausage, and it was great with sangria.
Vegetarian choices ($8.95 to $11.95) are Arturo’s quesadilla Portabella, a flour tortilla stuffed with beans, melted cheese and sliced, sautéed portabella mushrooms; spinach and mushroom chimichanga; and grilled vegetable quesadilla.
Desserts include sopapillas; fried bananas; flan; Ollita Dulce, peach and mango melba in a flour tortilla shell with ice cream and whipped cream; and El Mariachi cheese cake.
Serving lunch every day from 11:30 to 3; dinner from 3 to 10 Sunday through Thursday; 3 to 11 Friday and Saturday.
Reservations accepted; handicap accessible; major credit cards; child friendly; full bar; happy hour with drink specials every day from 4 to 7; Mexican menu with vegetarian selections; full menu available for take out; off-premises catering; private functions; 10% senior discount Sunday through Thursday; Mariachi musicians Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9, DJ spinning Friday and Saturday evenings; margarita and tequila dinners; Karaoke in the Cantina Thursday evenings starting at 9; parking adjacent to the restaurant.
Reservations, 203-438-8282 are being accepted for a prix fixe Easter Sunday dinner from 12 to 7 at Bernard’s, 20 West Lane, Ridgefield. The cost is $70 for adults, $35 for children...An a la carte Easter Sunday dinner will be served from 11 to 5 at the Georgetown Saloon, 8 Main Street, in Georgetown. Jazz music by John Cain and Joe Meo, starts at noon. Reservations, 203-544-8003. Georgetown Saloon is now open on Mondays...Dinner for two at Outriggers Restaurant, foot of Broad Street in Stratford, 203-377-8815, is available for $36.95, tax and gratuity not included, from Sunday to Thursday.
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