Tortuga’s Mexican Village, Princeton, NJ

Tortuga’s is a local Mexican institution. It is highly rated on Zagat’s so I had to try it for myself. Regulars to my blog know that I think ratings on Zagat are inflated and I’m happy to report that Tortuga’s continues to confirm my hypothesis. Tortuga’s has 2 other locations, 1 in Lambertville which serves alcohol and another in PA. The Princeton location is BYO.

The restaurant is located in a sketchy part of town. I was a little apprehensive about parking my car on the street but was assured it would be fine. And it was. The restaurant itself is a dive. Basic wooden tables, I won’t even comment on the decor because there isn’t any! I love dives because they are usually the places you can find great, tasty food at low low prices. I love finding places like that.

The menu was somewhat surprising. I was expecting something more authentic and the menu has some of those but it’s a strange mixture of american, tex-mex and mexican. The spicy chicken wings made with habenero are a case in point. They were good, but strange and really spicy – made my lips burn. For the main course I ordered the Chipotle Shrimp which came with brown rice. It was a creamy jalapeno sauce, taste was good but the food was so unbelievably hot (in terms of temperature). It seemed like they had nuked the food for ages. It hadn’t cooled down for 20 minutes. The shrimp were massive and cooked just right. But why was the food so damn hot? Kedar tried the tacos with Chorizo and wasn’t too impressed. He really doesn’t seem to like much. BTW, portions are huge.

Overall I would say the food is decent. I’ve had better Mexican, but if the craving for Mexican with a twist grabs you, this place is worth the occassional visit.

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