Local food review: Baja Krab Shrimp Enchiladas

Baja Krab Shrimp Enchiladas. (Natalie Schweiger photo)

by Natalie Schweiger

When a restaurant is packed at 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday, you know there’s either a party or the food is just that good.

At Casa Romero in Waterloo, it’s always the latter. Having dined there before, I knew the quality of the menu and was happy to wait. As expected, I wasn’t disappointed. On this evening I was served Baja Krab Shrimp Enchiladas, a seafood inspired dish with a Mexican touch.

Succulent crab meat is first sautéed with shrimp, sweet corn, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and just a pinch of habanero pepper. This colorful mixture is wrapped in two softshell tortillas and then finished with a creamy coating of housemade chimichuri salsa (a signature item of the restaurant). The dish was served aside perfectly spiced veggies and Mexican rice. This rice, however, could be promoted to more than just an accompaniment. But to fully appreciate it, allow me to provide a brief background.

All Spanish rice is initially boiled in chicken stock or chicken broth. The flavor is absorbed into the grains, giving it a salty taste as well as its yellow (sometimes orange) pigment. Most places use rice cooked in a simple stock and then season before final preparation. But Casa Romero’s raises the bar. They order all their rice from Jorohgo’s in Chicago. The stock used comes from white meat chicken seasoned with fresh Mexican herbs, different than other vendors who use condensed chicken stock. Once in store, before plating, the rice is boiled in a pot of water and melted margarine (again unique to other establishments that typically fry the grains in large amounts for speed), then given a light sprinkle of additional seasonings.

To make it in the restaurant business, one must set themselves above the competition. Casa Romero does so by creating menu items like my meal tonight, originating from family recipes and beautifully prepared with fresh authentic ingredients. Casa Romero proves that a grand-sized restaurant is not required for exceptional taste.

Casa Romero Mexican Restaurant
512 S Market St.
Waterloo, IL 62298
(618) 939-6440

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