While working on a recent Saturday, I decided to grab a late-afternoon bite and had to make it quick in case I was needed back in the office.

I chose Fajita Grill in Westbrook, which is a short drive from my office in South Portland. I was able to park my car right in front of the restaurant, on Main Street, and was given a booth in the dining room. The bar area was solidly packed and the dining room mostly empty at 3:30 p.m.

A taco and burrito combo, with rice and beans, for $10 at Fajita Grill in Westbrook. Photo by Bob Keyes

The service came quickly. I had a menu, a glass of water and bowl of chips and salsa in moments. And just a few minutes after that, the kitchen had my order for a two-item combo of chicken burrito and beef taco, with rice and beans, for $10. I could have ordered three items for $11.50, but that would have been served without the rice and beans, which is what I was most interested in. Another 10 minutes or so after I placed my order, my combo platter arrived – a well-presented and appealing plate of food that was so hot to the touch I had to wait a solid minute or more for everything to cool down enough to attempt to bring the plate closer to me, let alone begin eating.

Even then, the refried beans still burned the roof of my mouth.

The extreme temperature of the plate and the food on it did not temper my overall enjoyment of the meal. The burrito was stuffed with shredded chicken and a small amount of what I believe was pico de gallo, topped with melted cheese. It was basic, but fresh-tasting and appealing. The chicken was tender, and I was able to slice through the burrito with a fork.

The taco was less successful. The beef was greasy and the grease had congealed on the side of the hard-shell taco that set against the plate. I attempted the taco after I ate the burrito and nearly all the beans and rice, so the grease had time to set up. Its appeal was diminished because of the amount of grease in the meat and how it presented itself when it had the chance to cool. Half the taco shell held up, the other half fell apart. I ended up picking at the taco with my fork as it crumbled to the plate.

The Fajita Grill at 857 Main St. in Westbrook. Photo by Bob Keyes

Fajita Grill bills itself as authentic Mexican food. I am not enough of an expert or connoisseur of Mexican food to dispute that, but it strikes me as solidly Mexican-American or Tex-Mex. The most interesting item on the menu might be the traditional Mexican soup made with tripe in a red chili pepper broth, but otherwise, most selections are common to many Mexican-American restaurants around here.

Similarly, the atmosphere is what you might expect – bright colors, Spanish-language music, and pinatas hanging from the ceiling, along with advertisements for Mexican beer. The TVs by the bar were tuned to soccer and college football. There are appealing specials, as well: Taco Tuesday, with $1.50 tacos, and Wing Night Wednesdays, with 59-cent chicken wings.

I was in and out within 30 minutes and spent $13, with a 20 percent tip, and had no complaints about the price or the efficiency of the service.

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