We came to Blue Burrito to order lunch, and got distracted by the dinner specials still posted on the chalkboard.
A “Cowboy Burger” made with free-range bison, chipotle molasses barbecue, blue cheese and bacon, and served with sweet corn cakes, sounded so delicious, I wilted a little when I saw the price — $13, which is too steep for Eat and Run selections.
Back to the lunch menu. Decisions were tough here as well, but we finally settled on a blackened steak and cheese quesadilla and — since the place is named Blue Burrito — a chicken burrito made with rice, beans (pinto, black or mixed), Monterey Jack and salsa.
Blue Burrito makes its own salsas, eight different kinds from extra spicy and mild to fruity. We chose the blueberry salsa for the quesadilla and the salsa verde (tomatillos, garlic, avocado and Serrano peppers) for the burrito.
One of the reasons I ordered the blackened steak and cheese quesadilla is that I figured it would be a good test. Too often, the steak in this kind of dish comes out overcooked, tough and chewy, and you end up wishing you’d ordered something else.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the meat in my quesadilla was tender and still lightly pink in the center. It came with caramelized poblano peppers, onions and sauteed mushrooms, with sour cream on the side. The smaller version of this dish costs $7, and is plenty for one person’s lunch. A larger version is also available for $8.50, if you’re really hungry or want leftovers.
The chicken burrito came with a side of slaw and was supposed to come with chips, but we didn’t get any, probably because there was one person waiting on the entire cafe while we were there.
The burrito itself was, like the quesadilla, a pleasant surprise. How many times have you ordered something like this and suffered major disappointment because it was stuffed with mostly rice as filler?
This burrito contained rice, but you actually had to look for it among the beans and chicken. It was just the right ratio of ingredients. The salsa verde gave the burrito a little heat, but not too much.
The slaw was just OK. The lack of chips was irritating because they are listed on the menu, but in reality, it would have been too much food anyway.
This burrito can also be ordered with pork or asada beef for $6.26 (small) or $7.50 (large), and with fish or shrimp for the same prices. The chicken version costs $5.75 for a small and $7 for a large. There are vegetarian versions and a vegan option as well.
Blue Burrito’s “Fiesta Sandwiches” include roll-ups and a baby shrimp tortilla club, which is made with shrimp, bacon, tomato, lettuce, guacamole and Monterey Jack cheese.
Tacos and Southwestern-style salads round out the menu. We avoided the tacos, because $7.50 for a chicken taco and $7 for one made will grilled tofu seems awfully steep. Ask for shrimp or haddock, and the price jumps to $9. The menu doesn’t specify how many come in an order. If it’s more than one, it should say so on the menu.
Blue Burrito makes its own from-scratch gazpacho, served with a side of chips, for $5.
The restaurant has colorful picnic table-style seating indoors, and a patio where you can enjoy the waning warmth of the season.
There’s also a full bar that serves beer, wine by the glass and margaritas.
The Features staff of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.