199 East Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Just two blocks from the Statehouse is a modest storefront offering Mexican food to the downtown crowd. Mexica has probably been at this location for a couple years and I have visited often, although not a lot recently.
I arrived at Mexica about 12:45, a little later than usual, and caught the tail end of the lunch crowd. A number of people were waiting for their take-out orders and about 2/3 of the seats were occupied. Although it had been a while since I had been to the restaurant, I recalled a fairly brisk lunch business. Today looked to be no different.
Mexica offers a nice menu featuring standard Mexican fare plus a few not often found at casual dining locales. This afternoon, I stopped by with the intention of ordering something different. In all of my previous visits, I have ordered the Steak Burrito. Almost "Chipotle-sized," the Mexica burrito is a meal in itself.
Walking up to the counter to place my order, I scanned the menu on the wall above searching for that "something different." I settled on a Steak Torta, a kind of Mexican sandwich. The menu described it as containing refried beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and avocado. In reality, it contained whole beans, shredded lettuce, no tomato, no sour cream, and no avocado, but with some small pieces of a white queso. The steak was cut into very small bits also, perhaps appropriate for a burrito, but lost in the thick bolillo bread of the torta.
The sandwich was about 8-10" in length, cut into two pieces, but the bolillo, although a tasty white sandwich roll, overwhelmed the inadequate filling. To make matters worse, the beans and pieces of steak fell out of the sandwich because there was no sour cream to bind it all together. Fortunately, Mexica has a small salsa bar with about five or six kinds of salsa. I used a mango salsa on one half of the sandwich and a red salsa, which proved to not be spicy at all, on the other half.
The Steak Torta was definitely decepcionante (disappointing), but I will undoubtedly return to Mexica for their burritos. They are quite good, far more substantial than the torta, and a half buck cheaper at $6.50!
Each day, Mexica has a $1 off special with 99 cent tacos every day. That may be my next selection.
If you try Mexica, you may want to plan on an early or a late lunch. There is seating for about 22-25 people and it is often quite busy around the noon hour. Interestingly, the left side of the room has four tables, each seating two people, underneath a thatched roof kind of contraption. A similar "Gilligan's Island" style roof covers the small salsa stand in the middle of the room. Together with adobe-style walls and wooden tables and chairs, there is some (not much, but some) charm to an otherwise standard downtown storefront.
Mexica does not seem to have a website as http://www.mexicarestaurant.com/, listed as the website on http://www.urbanspoon.com/, is a dead link.
(Photos from http://www.urbanspoon.com/)