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Restaurant Review: Miguel’s in Bangor

Rating: A-

It’s an anomaly. A pleasant surprise.

Miguel’s breaks away from the herd of Mexican cuisine restaurants. In the one-story venue, you can see all four walls. The coziness wraps around you like an enchilada-scented blanket, or the outer lining of a burrito. Music softly plays in the background. Small chatter is heard from the bar.

Arriving around 6 p.m., I fully expected to encounter screaming, drunk college students, a typical find — but thankfully they were nowhere to be found. The waitress offered a choice between salsa fresca or a spicier alternative. Almost immediately after the words left my mouth, a colorful salsa fresca dish and bowl of chips were placed neatly on the table. Cilantro had a bold presence, making the salsa come alive. The vegetables were fresh from the farmer’s market making for a refreshing taste.

As soon as I effectively made a complete ring of spilled salsa fresca around the serving bowl, our waitress was ready to take orders.

For an appetizer, after a few embarrassing mispronunciations, I ordered the flautas: three crispy flour tortillas filled with chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, corn and roasted red peppers. The best part of the dish had to be the poblano cream sauce. A simple queso would not do the flautas justice. The bite of the poblano paired with the buttery smoothness of the flour tortillas to create a unique balance of textures and flavors, both sweet and spicy.

To continue the poblano pepper theme, I had to get the roasted poblano tacos for my entree. The three open face tacos came with the typical rice and black beans on the side. Served on three corn tortillas, the tacos consisted of grilled chicken, feta cheese and a cheesy poblano sauce. The first bite was glorious — perfectly seasoned chicken with a creamy, and outrageously spicy, poblano sauce. And then it happened.

My taco completely fell apart.

Within minutes of receiving my dinner, the tortillas were soggy as if they had been sitting out all night. My heart broke as all the contents fell down to the plate in cinematic slow motion. I finished my dinner with a fork, scooping the delicious, but lonely, chicken and sauce into my mouth.

The service was fast and friendly. The poblano sauces were beyond impressive and, though my beloved poblano tacos collapsed on my plate, I was thankful to enjoy my dinner without the shrieks and screams of someone’s 21st birthday celebration.

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