When life gives you lemons, go to Urbano Mexican Kitchen. At least that’s what happened when I was taking my 93-year-old grandmother out for lunch, only to find that the Japanese restaurant was closed. After getting over the initial shock, my grandmother suggested Mexican food, since it was located in the same strip mall. I was incredulous, pretty sure that Mexican food was not part of her normal dining rotation. “I’m not that familiar,” she admitted. “You’ll have to order for me.”
Urbano Mexican Kitchen looks more like a sports bar, with large TVs on the wall, rather than a Mexican restaurant. With an open kitchen, the restaurant is spacious and very clean. It was a rainy day, and we were seated quickly and presented with a basket of thin crisp chips and salsa.
She ordered the Sopa de Pollo, so big that it easily could be shared by two people. It was the perfect dish for a cold, rainy day, the roasted tomato chipotle broth rich with vegetables and chicken, topped with avocado and tortilla strips. Reminiscent of my dad’s vegetable soup, the sopa tasted fresh and comforting, home cooking at its finest.
My grandmother declared that she would either get a fish or shrimp dish but was not very hungry. I suggested getting two tacos, one of each, but in the end, she got one lone shrimp taco. When she saw it, she said, “That’s all?” and declared that she would share some of my entree.
She had ordered the chipotle aioli on the side, so the taco itself wasn’t too flavorful (should have ordered that fish taco, too). Fortunately, my grandmother had already successfully polished off her half of the soup.
The Al Pastor burrito was tasty, with the sweetness of the pineapple on the adobo marinated pork contrasting nicely with the beans and rice. This one was a hit with my grandmother, who gobbled up her fourth of the burrito.
Urbano Mexican Kitchen managed to simultaneously satisfy my Mexican food cravings and win over a 93-year-old Mexican food neophyte. As we exited the restaurant, my grandmother burped, a sure sign of having eaten well.
Location – 147 W California Blvd, Pasadena 91105
Website – http://urbanomexicankitchen.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – Yes
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes