By Patrick Hood and Caitlyn Letterii
Join Caitlyn Letterii and Patrick Hood, a couple of yellow journalists working for William Randolph Hearst, as they explore and critique the cheap eats available around the Bronx and Rose Hill campus.
When most Fordham students want Mexican food, they either hit up Estrellita’s or (if they are one of our educated and refined readers) Rancho Estrella (which we reviewed last year). Ruben’s Mexican Restaurant, located on 187th Street, is a bit of a mystery. Since neither of us had ever heard of anyone going there before, we set out to see if this was a hidden gem or a lump of coal.
PH: We did not really mean to visit Ruben’s, but the place we were going to review was closed, and Ruben’s happened to be across the street. Some may call it serendipity, some may call it the result of lazy reviewers not checking restaurant hours ahead of time. But me? I just call it Ruben’s.
CL: Despite not being our first choice, the restaurant immediately sucked us in due to its warm atmosphere and vivacious music. And don’t even get me started on the fun decorations.
PH: I won’t.
CL: Fantastic! We picked our table and were quickly greeted by our waitress and placed our beverage orders. They had so many tea options that my head was spinning. After some deliberation, I went with green tea. It was fine; I mean, it’s just tea.
PH: I had a very authentic Mexican beverage called Dr. Pepper. As they say in the Oaxaca region of Mexico, it was ‘muy bueno’. We were also provided with complimentary (free) chips and salsa verde. It was a bit watery but not half bad. Especially since it was free (complimentary).
CL: For the main course, I ordered an old Mexican favorite of mine: a veggie quesadilla with spinach (espinaca). I emphasize the word “order” because I was served something that was completely and tragically different.
PH: Save the drama for your mama (llama) Caitlyn. You still received a veggie quesadilla, it just had mushrooms in it. Don’t have a cow!
CL: Dear readers, let me lay it out for you since my partner is blind to my plight.
PH: Strap in, because this one is a doozy.
CL: So here’s the sitch: I was given a choice between a veggie quesadilla with mushrooms or spinach. I chose spinach because I think mushrooms are gross, and I love the live-action Popeye movie musical starring Robin Williams.
PH: I don’t know what you’re talking about Caitlyn. The sound mixing in that movie is terrible. Also, mushrooms are earthy delights upon the palate.
CL: Agree to disagree. I sort of enjoyed my quesadilla once I finished picking out all of the unwanted dirt trees from my meal. No matter how delicious it may have been, the damage done to my psyche and my pride was irreversible. I will never forgive them.
PH: Are you starting a blood feud, Caitlyn?
CL: Heck yeah I’m starting a blood feud! Letteriis for generations shall be at war with Ruben’s.
PH: Getting on with the review, I ordered a chorizo (pork) cemita, which is a sort of torta or Mexican sandwich on a sesame roll with string cheese, avocado, onion (cebolla) and more. It was salty, savory and way more than I could eat. Let’s just say I got two meals for one deal.
CL: Let’s stop beating around the bush, Hood. It’s time to give our final thoughts so I can start forgetting this mushroom fiasco ever happened.
PH: Ruben’s was a pleasant little surprise, though not my favorite Mexican joint in the area. While the cemita was quite scrumptious and the atmosphere friendly, I would probably still choose Estrellita’s or Rancho Estrella over Ruben’s. All in all, it was a decent meal set to nice music, and so I give Ruben’s an official Semi-Sweet Rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
CL: Look, obviously I was not pleased with how this experience turned out. Mushrooms have long been my mortal enemy, and to see them in an otherwise serviceable quesadilla was heart-wrenching. I’m not mad, just disappointed. I would like to point out that our waitress, despite her mistake, was very nice, and I’m sure she did not realize the weight of what happened that afternoon. I don’t mean to sound like a total B in Apartment 23 about this, it’s just that we all have a cross to bear, and mushrooms are mine. If I look at the restaurant objectively, I would have to agree with Patrick and give it a Semi-Sweet Rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
Try the cemita if you want to try a fun twist on a traditional torta. Pass on the mushrooms if you hate them and are a big baby (Caitlyn).
Ruben’s Mexican Restaurant
Address: 606 East 187 Street (Between Arthur and Hughes)
Phone number: 718-450-8184
Hours: 10:00 AM-11:00 PM
Delivery is free on orders over $10