Rosa Mexicano | NJ

Rosa Mexicano is a popular Mexican restaurant chain that has many locations around the country. I’ve frequently dined at a location in Hackensack, NJ that has always been very accommodating with my allergy. Normally, this introduction would be a little more detailed but this is Mexican food we’re talking about. You love it, I love it, everyone loves it (I think). So let’s get onto the good stuff and see how this particular location stacks up in the gluten free world.

Food (9.4)

I’m probably going to get an ear full (so to speak) from my readers by claiming that this is excellent Mexican food. The food is far better here than at La Loteria in NYC (my first restaurant review) and Gringo’s in Jersey City. I’ve been to other Mexican restaurants before my Up Yours Gluten days but this always stacks up among the best for me. The quality of ingredients, menu options and overall care for gluten free eating has always been top notch for me here. They also prepare your guacamole fresh right at your table. How can you beat that?

I’ve gotten a range of items on their menu from tacos, to enchilada’s, skirt steak and more. I haven’t had a bad dish. For this review, I got the Alambre De Pollo Tacos for an entree and the Sope De Tortilla for appetizer. Both were incredibly good.

Service (7.0)

The service here is typically non-communicative. There was a point years ago where if you even mentioned the words gluten a manager would come out to take your order and handle it specially. That isn’t the case anymore and the staff is very tough to get any information out of. I wouldn’t call this a problem only because the kitchen seems to know what to do once an order item is flagged as gluten free. I’ve never gotten sick from eating here so this is a great example of how great kitchen practices can help bolster the rating of any wait staff.

Menu (9.1)

The menu options here are plentiful and fantastic. You can have at least one item from every section of the menu and they are all delicious. Their is no separate menu but the standard menu has GF labeling next to the foods that are safe. This could vary location to location though so I can’t be sure if you can expect to see the same at a Rosa Mexicano near you.

I have to make mention of one thing though. I’ve recently read a bunch of reviews of Rosa Mexicana in NYC (this review is about the location in Hackensack NJ) and a few reviewers claimed to have gotten sick from eating at this chain. A few reviews even mentioned that there is no delineation from dishes that are naturally gluten free and those that must be altered to be served gluten free, such as breaded/fried dishes. This location I’m reviewing doesn’t have this issue because there is nothing on the menu that needs to be altered. Because of this, I’m guessing other locations have differing menus so make sure you are aware of this before you eat at a Rosa Mexicano.

Did I Get Sick (NO)

I’ve eaten here a number of times over the years and have never once been sick. The biggest source of cross contamination would be the fryer but this location claims to cook all their tortilla chips in the morning with fresh fryer oil so that cross contamination isn’t a issue. Back in the days when the manager would take my order – they always assured me that my food would be cooked separately in the kitchen using safe cooking practices. I can’t confirm if this is still the case but I’ve never gotten sick. So either I’m just lucky all the time or they still safely cook gluten free food here.

Overall (8.9)

If I were eating here for the first time (as gluten free) then I would be a bit nervous with the non-communicative wait staff. The only reason I’m not is because I’ve been eating here for so long and very familiar with their cooking practices and menu offering. Again, these things might vary by location but this review is solely of the Hackensack NJ location. I imagine this is reflective of all Rosa Mexicano’s since this is a strictly managed chain restaurant but you never know. As far as this location goes, the food is great, the options are great, the service lacks a little and I’ve never gotten sick. Therefor, it deserves this high rating and I would recommend this location to other gluten free eaters.